U.S. airstrikes have killed ISIS leader Turki al-Binali, 32, during the siege of Raqqa in northern Syria.
Al-Binali was most famously known for giving the Islamic State a religious justification to turn captured “infidel” women into sex slaves.
Analysts who track Islamic State activity on social media say there has been a surge of pictures and eulogies of Al-Binali, with a hashtag being commonly used that translates from Arabic to “the martyrdom of Sheikh Turki al-Binali.”
As the head of the ISIS Research and Fatwa Department, al-Binali was tasked with using social media and other forms of propaganda in order to recruit foreign fighters to the Islamic State’s cause.
He used his status as a Bahraini cleric to justify his religious propaganda, which stated that, “There is no doubt that enslaving [women] of infidel warriors is permitted; it is not permitted to kill [women] and children, but they become slaves to Muslims.”
Kristian Weaver, a foreign fighter currently serving with coalition-backed forces in Syria, said the airstrikes have taken a devastating toll on the Islamic State during the battle for Raqqa.
“I am not sure the bombing is completely random, it seems as if the U.S. are picking and choosing targets based on value,” Weaver said. “For the moment it’s helping us speed things along, and taking its toll on [ISIS] at the same time.”