Taha Subhi Falaha (Arabic: طه صبحي فلاحة; 1977 – 30 August 2016), known as Abu Muhammad al-Adnani al-Shami (Arabic: أبو محمد العدناني), was the official spokesperson and a senior leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant"> Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (also called the Islamic State or ISIS). He was described as the chief of its external operations. He was the second most senior leader of the Islamic State after its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Media reports in August 2016 suggested he was in charge of a special unit, known as the Emni, that was established by ISIL in 2014 with the double objective of internal policing and executing operations outside the ISIL territory.
On 30 August 2016, the Islamic State announced al-Adnani has been killed in Aleppo Province. Numerous fighting forces claimed responsibility for al-Adnani's death. On 12 September 2016, the U.S. Department of Defense officially confirmed that a U.S. airstrike had killed al-Adnani.
According to a biography penned by Turki al-Binali, Adnani became involved in Islamic militancy in the year 2000. His primary teacher was Abu Anas al-Shami, a senior leader in Jama'at al-Tawhid wal Jihad. He swore allegiance to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi along with thirty-five others while in Syria, with a plan to fight the government of Bashar al-Assad. However, the Americans invaded Iraq, and Adnani became one of the first foreign fighters to oppose Coalition forces in Iraq.
In May 2005 Al-Adnani was arrested by Coalition forces in Al Anbar Governorate in Iraq under a fake name "Yasser Khalaf Hussein Nazal al-Rawi", and was released in 2010. In December 2012, an Iraqi intelligence official said he was using a number of aliases including "Abu Mohamed al-Adnani, Taha al-Banshi, Jaber Taha Falah, Abu Baker al-Khatab and Abu Sadek al-Rawi."
Al-Adnani was highly respected by his fellow fighters throughout his time in the Iraq insurgency, with ISI leader Abu Omar al-Baghdadi saying about him, "It will be for this man the whole affair (of jihad)". Abu Musab al-Zarqawi trusted him so much that he allowed him to make executive decisions independently, saying "Do not consult me on matters, just brief me." He was also the teacher of Manaf Abd al-Rahim al-Rawi, the Al-Qaeda in Iraq"> Al-Qaeda in Iraq "governor" for Baghdad province.
According to Harry Sarfo, a former German member of the group. "The big man behind everything is Abu Muhammad al-Adnani. ... He is the head of the Emni, and he is the head of the special forces as well. ... Everything goes back to him."
As spokesman of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant">Islamic State, Adnani made a considerable number of speeches. His rhetorical style received attention. Abu al-Waleed al-Salafi, a researcher, comments, "I have analysed the speeches of Baghdadi and Adnani psychologically more than once, and I found a result: that Adnani's speech seeks to inspire zeal in the soul, while Baghdadi's speech seeks to inspire calm." Adnani's vitriolic speaking style established his reputation as the 'attack dog' of the Islamic State, especially for his denunciations of al-Qaeda.
On 22 September 2014, al-Adnani gave a lengthy speech entitled "Indeed, Your Lord Is Ever Watchful", which was significant because it was the first official instruction by ISIL for its supporters to kill non-Muslims in Western countries. Template Template-Fact" style="white-space:nowrap;"> Among other things, Al-Adnani said:
If you can kill a disbelieving American or European – especially the spiteful and filthy French – or an Australian, or a Canadian, or any other disbeliever from the disbelievers waging war, including the citizens of the countries that entered into a coalition against the Islamic State, then rely upon Allah, and kill him in any manner or way however it may be. Smash his head with a rock, or slaughter him with a knife, or run him over with your car, or throw him down from a high place, or choke him, or poison him.
On 30 August 2016, the Islamic State announced that Adnani was killed in Aleppo Province. The Russian Federation claimed that Adnani had been killed in a Tuesday (30 August 2016) Russian airstrike. Specifically, the Russian Defense Ministry indicated on August 31st that al-Adnani was killed in the Maarat Umm Hawsh area of Aleppo as result of an airstrike conducted by a Russian Su-34 bomber, a strike which targeted and hit a group of about 40 Islamic State fighters. On 13 September, Kremlin-controlled Sputnik News contended that while Russia's version of events was "more likely" than the Pentagon's, it was also possible that Adnani had been killed by Islamic State rivals, or might even still be alive.
An unnamed U.S. defense official said, "coalition forces conducted an airstrike in al-Bab, Syria, targeting an ISIL senior leader" and were still trying to confirm whether he was killed. A U.S. defense official called the Russian claim to have killed al-Adnani "preposterous" and "a joke" and said they stand by the statement made on August 30 that U.S. forces conducted the strike that targeted al-Adnani. Also, earlier in the day on 30 August 2016, a U.S. military intelligence official stated that al-Adnani was wounded several days previous and succumbed to his injuries in al-Bab.
Ammar Waqqaf, founder and director of Gnosos think tank, stated in an interview with RT that al-Adnani’s death is a setback for IS given his role in Islamic State propaganda and his senior level adding "It will take time for them [ISIL] to replace him, but we shouldn’t be singing chants of joy yet, because [ISIL] probably thought that some of them would have been killed and the replacement would be in the pipeline."
After his death al-Adnani was featured on the cover of first issue of new ISIL propaganda magazine called Rumiyah that praised his life as a jihadist and his 'martyrdom'. It repeatedly stated that the killing of al-Adnani will only strengthen the outfit as there are many who will follow his path and replace him.