Assassinating al-Qaeda’s leaders crushed its power. Will the same happen with Isil?

The world awoke to the importance of a 39-year-old Syrian called Taha Falaha when he fell prey to a missile fired from an American drone. Better known by his nom de guerre Abu Mohammed al-Adnani, he was the deputy leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) and the author of a string of blood-curdling statements.

Adnani’s most notorious incitement came when he urged Muslims in the West to “kill a disbelieving American or European – especially the spiteful and filthy French”. As well as offering rhetorical inspiration for terrorism, Adnani also ran the branch of Isil which actually organised attacks in Europe. On top of these dubious distinctions, he served as “governor” of Isil’s conquests in Syria.