Was ISIL commander Abu Mohammad al-Adani executed by ISIL itself after falling out with al-Baghdadi?
At the end of August it was reported by the ISIL affiliated Amaq news agency that Abu Mohammad al-Adani, an ISIL commander and the group’s chief of external operations, was “martyred” in Aleppo province.1 Who killed al-Adani was never conclusively resolved.
Both the US and Russia claimed that their airstrikes were responsible for killing him, but there was also some speculation that ISIL was involved in his death. According to DEBKAfile, both the American and Russian strikes against al-Adani were informed by the same source, leading the DEBKAfile author to aver:2
“never before has any Islamic terrorist organization fed the same piece of intelligence to the US and Russia. If that is what happened, it could mean only one thing: that someone in ISIS had decided it was time for al-Adani to go.”
In support of DEBKAfile’s theory, 4 months after the latter’s article, and rather out of the blue, Turkish daily Yeni Safak published an article on their website stating that al-Adani was executed by ISIL over a falling out with the group’s leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.3 According to this article:
“The friction was caused by Adani’s objections to the leadership of Baghdadi, who lost his leg in the US bombardment in al-Anbari, Iraq in July 2016.
Adnani was pushing Baghdadi to leave his seat after Baghdadi was wounded by an attack from the US-led coalition while traveling in a convoy in the Iraqi province.”
It should be remarked that the above article, makes its claims, that al-Adani was executed by ISIL and that Baghdadi is missing a leg, in a matter of fact manner, without citing any sources. As such these claims are unsubstantiated, and it is difficult to judge their veracity. Maybe Yeni Safak knows something no one else does or maybe they are attempting to spread anti-ISIL propaganda–i.e. claiming that there was significant dissension among the group’s upper echelon–as Turkey is attempting to oust ISIL from al-Bab.
Ultimately no one knows what the actual circumstances surrounding al-Adani’s death was, and we may never know, but it seems reasonable to presume that there is more than meets the eye surrounding this story.