Reports: Islamic State spokesman killed in Syria

By Doug G. Ware   |   Aug. 30, 2016 at 4:50 PM
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ALEPPO, Syria, Aug. 30 (UPI) -- A senior Islamic State leader who had a $5 million U.S. bounty on his head has been killed in fighting in Syria, the Amaq News Agency reported Tuesday.

Abu Mohammad al-Adnani, who also acted as the group's spokesman, was killed in the northern city of Aleppo, which had been an insurgent stronghold for months before government forces and other rebels retook control recently.

"Shaykh Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, the spokesman of the Islamic State, was martyred while surveying the operations to repel the military campaigns in Aleppo," the Amaq News Agency, the Islamic State's official news outlet, said.

Al-Adnani was killed as Turkish and Kurdish forces attacked Islamic State-controlled areas of Aleppo, al-Masdar News reported Tuesday.

The 39-year-old Syrian was a major player in the Islamic State, officials have said, and was the subject of a $5 million reward offered by the U.S. Department of State.

U.S. officials did not immediately comment on the reported death of al-Adnani because it had yet to be independently verified.

"He is the main conduit for the dissemination of ISIL messages, including its declaration of ISIL's creation of an Islamic caliphate. In public statements, al-Adnani has repeatedly called for attacks against Westerners and has vowed 'defeat' for the United States," the State Department states on its website. "The U.S. Department of State designated al-Adnani as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist on August 18, 2014."

Intelligence officials believe that in addition to acting as the group's official representative, al-Adnani was also key in various planning details involving ISIS operatives and also had a hand in the gruesome execution videos the terror network often releases.

If true, al-Adnani's death is a major victory for U.S. and coalition forces battling the Islamic State in Syria. In December, NBC News cited a senior American military official in reporting that al-Adnani was the ISIS member U.S. officials most wanted dead.

In his post as spokesman, al-Adnani was viewed as the face of the group's efforts to recruit new members and inspire "lone wolf" attacks in the Western world.

In January, it was reported that al-Adnani was wounded in fighting in Syria and required a blood transfusion.

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India, U.S. agree on increased anti-terror cooperation

By Allen Cone   |   Aug. 30, 2016 at 4:02 PM

NEW DELHI, Aug. 30 (UPI) -- The United States and India announced on Tuesday increased cooperation to fight terrorism.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj appeared jointly after their second U.S.-India Strategic and Commercial Dialogue in New Delhi.

The two nations will intensify sharing of intelligence and "work for the early operationalization of an agreement on exchanging information on known or suspected terrorists," Swaraj told reporters in New Delhi.

And they agreed on a "joint cyber framework to reduce cybercrime," Kerry said.

Kerry said these developments "couldn't come at a more important moment."

The two countries hope to find those involved in terrorist attacks in India, including the January attack on the Pathankot air force base. A Home Ministry-appointed committee has noted gaps and vulnerabilities in border fencing with Pakistan.

Tensions are rising with Pakistan in the disputed region of Kashmir. Officials lifted a 51-day curfew in the territory Monday, citing a decline in separatist violence.

India has moved into a closer relationship with Washington amid rising concerns by both nations about China's intentions.

Kerry also met Tuesday with India's national security adviser, Ajit Doval to discuss regional security and counterterrorism. He planned to meet Wednesday with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

On Monday, India and the United States signed a defense agreement that will increase the military cooperation between two of the world's largest democracies.

It allows their military forces access to each other's bases for repairs and to replenish supplies. But Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement doesn't yet allow each nation to set up bases and access to military facilities in the respective countries.

© 2016 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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