An ISIS leader who provided the group with the religious justification for turning "infidel" women into sex slaves was killed earlier this week in a U.S. airstrike, according to reports on jihadi websites.
Posts on ISIS forums in the "deep web" say Turki al-Binali, 32, was killed Monday.
Alex Kassirer of Flashpoint Intelligence, which tracks ISIS social media for NBC News, reports that jihadis "are posting a lot of photos of him and eulogizing him (many referring to him by his kunya (battle name), Abu Sufyan al-Sulami)."
Many of the social media posts carried an Arabic hashtag that translates into "the martyrdom of Sheikh Turki al-Binali."
US led airstrikes on ISIS targets
US led airstrikes on ISIS targets
Smoke rises after an U.S.-led air strike in the Syrian town of Kobani Ocotber 8, 2014. U.S.-led air strikes on Wednesday pushed Islamic State fighters back to the edges of the Syrian Kurdish border town of Kobani, which they had appeared set to seize after a three-week assault, local officials said. The town has become the focus of international attention since the Islamists' advance drove 180,000 of the area's mostly Kurdish inhabitants to flee into adjoining Turkey, which has infuriated its own restive Kurdish minority-- and its NATO partners in Washington -- by refusing to intervene. REUTERS/Umit Bektas (SYRIA - Tags: POLITICS CONFLICT TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)
Pictures showing an ISIL Command and Control Center in Syria before (L) and after it was struck by bombs dropped by a U.S. F-22 fighter jet are seen in handouts released by the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) September 23, 2014. This was the first time the F22 was used in a combat role according to the DOD. The United States and its Arab allies bombed Syria for the first time on Tuesday, killing scores of Islamic State fighters and members of a separate al Qaeda-linked group, opening a new front against militants by joining Syria's three-year-old civil war. REUTERS/US Department of Defense/Handout (UNITED STATES - Tags: MILITARY CONFLICT) THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS
In this photograph taken on April 11, 2017, smoke rises after an air strike by US aircraft on positions during an ongoing an operation against Islamic State (IS) militants in the Achin district of Afghanistan's Nangarhar province.
An American special forces soldier has been killed while conducting operations against the Islamic State group in Afghanistan, the US military said.ï¿½The US-backed Afghan military has vowed to wipe out the group in its strongholds in the eastern province of Nangarhar as IS challenges the more powerful Taliban on its own turf. / AFP PHOTO / NOORULLAH SHIRZADA (Photo credit should read NOORULLAH SHIRZADA/AFP/Getty Images)
A still image captured from U.S. Navy video footage shows a Tomahawk Land-Attack Missile (TLAM) is launched against ISIL targets from the guided-missile cruiser USS Philippine Sea in the Gulf, September 23, 2014. The United States and Arab allies hit Islamic State (IS) targets including training camps, headquarters and weapon supplies in northern and eastern Syria in dozens of air and missile strikes on Tuesday, the U.S. military and a monitoring group said. REUTERS/Abe McNatt/U.S. Navy/Handout (MID-SEA - Tags: MILITARY CIVIL UNREST POLITICS) FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS
Smoke rises after an air strike on Islamic State (IS) militants positions during an ongoing operation against the group in the Achin district of Afghanistan's Nangarhar province on April 14, 2017, a day after the US military struck the district with its largest non-nuclear bomb.
The US military's largest non-nuclear bomb killed dozens of Islamic State militants as it smashed their mountain hideouts, Afghan officials said April 14, ruling out any civilian casualties despite the weapon's destructive capacity. The GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb -- dubbed the 'Mother Of All Bombs' -- hit IS positions in Achin district in eastern Nangarhar province on April 13.
/ AFP PHOTO / NOORULLAH SHIRZADA (Photo credit should read NOORULLAH SHIRZADA/AFP/Getty Images)
MOSUL, IRAQ - NOVEMBER 7: Smoke rises from Daesh terrorists positions after U.S.-led coalition's airstrike over east of Bashiqa town in Mosul, Iraq on November 7, 2016. Iraqi Kurdish Regional Government's peshmerga forces entered Bashiqa Town center as the operation to retake Iraq's Mosul from Daesh terrorists continues, in Mosul. A much anticipated Mosul offensive to liberate the city from Daesh began midnight of 16th of October 2016. (Photo by Hemn Baban/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Photo taken on 30 January 2017 in Mosul, Iraq. Destroyed hospital. Saalam hospital was targeted by a U.S. Coalition airstrike in December, 2016 as it was a base for Islamic State commanders. 16th Division command and control the east side of the city. The soldiers are engaged in the search for militants ISIS. The army protects the eastern bank of the Tigris. Soldiers take up positions on the roofs of buildings of which observe areas next to the river. (Photo by Maciej Moskwa/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
MOSUL, IRAQ - NOVEMBER 7: Smoke rises from Daesh terrorists positions after U.S.-led coalition's airstrike over east of Bashiqa town in Mosul, Iraq on November 7, 2016. Iraqi Kurdish Regional Government's peshmerga forces entered Bashiqa Town center as the operation to retake Iraq's Mosul from Daesh terrorists continues, in Mosul. A much anticipated Mosul offensive to liberate the city from Daesh began midnight of 16th of October 2016.
(Photo by Yunus Keles/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Members of Iraq's elite counter-terrorism service patrol as smoke billows in the background following a reported air strike by the US-led coalition on December 29, 2015 on the outskirts of Ramadi, the capital of Iraq's Anbar province, about 110 kilometers west of Baghdad, after Iraqi forces recaptured it from the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group. Iraq declared the city of Ramadi liberated from the Islamic State group Monday and raised the national flag over its government complex after clinching a landmark victory against the jihadists. AFP PHOTO / AHMAD AL-RUBAYE / AFP / AHMAD AL-RUBAYE (Photo credit should read AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images)
ALEPPO, SYRIA - DECEMBER 03: Smoke rises after the US-led coalition airstrikes' hits DAESH positions at Brekida village in Aleppo, Syria on December 03, 2015. (Photo by Huseyin Nasir/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Kurdish Peshmerga soldiers on November 14, 2015 in Sinjar, Iraq. Kurdish forces, with the aid of months of U.S.-led coalition airstrikes, liberated the town from ISIL extremists, known in Arabic as Daesh, in recent days. Although the battle was deemed a major victory, much of the city lay in complete ruins. (Photo by Andrea DiCenzo/NurPhoto) (Photo by Andrea DiCenzo/NurPhoto/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
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Flashpoint also pointed to the local Raqqa website "Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently," which is run by opponents of ISIS and the Assad regime, that stated al-Binali was killed on Monday evening after "his vehicle was targeted" on "Al-Wadi street in central Raqqa."
The Pentagon declined to comment on whether al-Binali had been killed. A senior U.S. intelligence official did not dispute the reports of al-Binali's death.
A Bahraini cleric, al-Binali offered religious opinions on a variety of issues for ISIS leadership, at one point stating in an online forum that: "There is no doubt that enslaving [women] of infidel warriors" is permitted; and "it is not permitted to kill [women] and children, but they become slaves to Muslims."
ISIS has carried out military campaigns against a variety of minority Muslim and other sects, including the Yazidi minority in Iraq, which was followed by wholesale enslavement of Yazidi women and girls.
More than 3,000 women and girls were taken captive when ISIS attacked ancestral Yazidi villages around northwestern Iraq's Sinjar Mountain in August 2014.
Al-Binali was at the time reportedly head of the ISIS Research and Fatwa Department, which released a fatwa allowing rape of infidel women around the time of the campaign against the Yazidis and their subsequent enslavement.
A member of a prominent Bahraini family, al-Binali moved around the Gulf region as a student. He was deported from Dubai while engaged in religious studies at the Islamic and Arabic Studies College there.
A glimpse into the land ISIS has lost
A glimpse into the land ISIS has lost
A billboard (L) with Koranic verses is seen in the historic city of Palmyra, in Homs Governorate, Syria April 1, 2016. REUTERS/Omar Sanadiki SEARCH "PALMYRA SANADIKI" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
An Islamic State flag hangs on the wall of an abandoned building in Tel Hamis in Hasaka countryside after the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) took control of the area March 1, 2015. Kurdish forces dealt a blow to Islamic State by capturing Tel Hamis, an important town, on Friday in the latest stage of a powerful offensive in northeast Syria, a Kurdish militia spokesman said. The capture of Tel Hamis was announced by the Kurdish YPG militia and confirmed by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the country's civil war. REUTERS/Rodi Said (SYRIA - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST CONFLICT)
Tripods and a projector are pictured inside an ancient Hammam that was used by Islamic State militants as a media centre in Manbij, in Aleppo Governorate, Syria, August 16, 2016. REUTERS/Rodi Said
A view shows part of a media centre that belonged to Islamic State militants inside an ancient Hammam in Manbij, Aleppo Governorate, Syria, August 16, 2016. REUTERS/Rodi Said
A tunnel used by Islamic State militants is seen in the town of Sinjar, Iraq December 1, 2015. REUTERS/Ari Jalal
A view shows car parts, which according to Syria Democratic Forces (SDF) fighters were used by Islamic State militants to prepare car bombs, at a workshop in Manbij, Aleppo Governorate, Syria, August 17, 2016. REUTERS/Rodi Said
Iraqi soldiers inspect a vehicle used for suicide car bombings, made by Islamic State militants, in Mosul, Iraq, January 25, 2017. REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed
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A mass grave for Islamic State militants are seen in Falluja, Iraq, September 4, 2016. REUTERS/Khalid al Mousily
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In November 2014 he had become ISIS's "chief religious advisor," and was described by ISIS as an "ideologue" and "spiritual leader." Then, with the killing of chief ISIS spokesman Abu Mohammed al Adnani in an August 2016 air strike, there was speculation he would be given an expanded media role, but Laith Alkhouri of Flashpoint says his role may actually have diminished.
After al-Binali was passed over for the spokesman role, a number of jihadists said he was "marginalized and was confined to a mere role of religious authority," said Alkhouri. "He hasn't been featured in ISIS official propaganda in two years."
ISIS statements suggested that al-Binali's primary tasks centered on providing assistance in "the recruitment of foreign fighters."
Al-Binali's death would fit within the U.S. campaign to take out those ISIS leaders involved in the use of media, particularly social media, to recruit new members.
One of the first to be killed was 21-year-old Junaid Hussain, an influential British hacker and recruiter for ISIS. He was killed in a drone attack in August 2015. Hussain had been recruiting U.S. Muslims to carry out attacks in the U.S. He was linked to planned but never executed attacks in New Jersey and New York and the 2015 attack on a Garland, Texas exhibit of cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad in which both attackers were killed and one security officer was injured.