ISIS names new leader, confirms death of predecessor

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ISIS confirmed the death of its leader Abu Ibrahim al-Qurayshi in a statement Thursday and named Abu Hasan al-Hashemi al-Qurayshi as his replacement.

ISIS extremists have “pledged allegiance” to “Abu Hasan al-Hashemi al-Qurayshi as an emir over believers and the caliph of Muslims,” the group’s spokesperson said in an audio recording.

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The recording confirmed the death of the former ISIS chief along with the group’s ex-spokesman.

“Abu Ibrahim al-Qurayshi and the official [ISIS] group spokesman... Abu Hamza al-Qurayshi...were killed in recent days,” the new spokesperson said.

The former leader blew himself up in early February during a US raid in northwest Syria, according to Washington, in an area controlled by rival extremists.

Abu Ibrahim al-Qurayshi, who led ISIS from 2019, was an ethnic Turkmen from the Iraqi city of Tal Afar. He replaced ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who was killed in a US raid in October that year.

Little is known about the new leader, who will serve as the group’s third chief since its inception.

He rises to the helm at a time when the group has been weakened by US-backed operations in Iraq and Syria aiming to thwart extremists’ resurgence.

The remnants of ISIS in Syria mostly went to their desert hideouts from which they continue to harass Kurdish-led forces and Syrian government troops.

A UN report last year estimated that around 10,000 ISIS fighters remained active across Iraq and Syria.

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