ISIS Loyalists Rail Against U.S. Over Claims Top Commander Killed

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Thursday the ISIS leader is injured but still living

A screenshot from an ISIS video
Mar 10, 2016 at 6:58 AM ET

Islamic State loyalists are railing against the U.S. for saying a top ISIS commander was “likely killed” last week in an airstrike, decrying the claim as psychological warfare and propaganda against them.

“God will curse America and all the spiteful Crusader nations,” one of the terror group’s supporters wrote on an ISIS forum. “The rumors on the killing of al-Shishani and other leaders of the Islamic state are just an effort by the infidels to obtain more information about them.”

Another supporter asked God to keep the commander alive “as a thorn in the their throats,” while another urged fellow loyalists circulating unconfirmed reports of al-Shishani’s death to “stop spreading lies from the infidels’ media,” Vocativ’s deep web analysts discovered.

More Top ISIS Commander ‘Likely Killed’ In U.S. Airstrike

The anger was in direct response to a Thursday statement by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), which said the commander, Abu Omar al-Shishani, is still alive after being targeted by warplanes in the southern outskirts of the Syrian city of Al-Hasakah. “Reliable sources confirmed to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights that Abu Omar Shishani was seriously wounded,” the SOHR said. Sources also told the group that ISIS called a doctor, described as a “foreign national” specialized in surgery on veins, to care for him.

ISIS supporters denounced the claim of al-Shishani’s “likely” death as a lie even before the SOHR statement was made on Thursday, believing it is just a ploy by the U.S. to find out information about the commander, and his location. “Please be cautious,” a supporter tweeted on Wednesday.

The Pentagon described al-Shishani, born in the then-Soviet republic of Georgia in 1986, as the Islamic State’s “minister of war,” according to Reuters. He is among the most-wanted terrorists.

A message posted on Thursday in at least five ISIS groups on Telegram—an app popular among the terror group’s supporters—declared: “For those who ask if the Sheikh Abu Omar al-Shishani was killed as the deceitful media claim: If he was killed then he won what he wished for, and if not, God please give him the martyrdom as a favor… Don’t be a tool by your enemies to spread rumors.”