Friday, 22 November, 2019

Islamic State group names its new leader as Abu Ibrahim al-Hashemi

1866657_web1_1866657-cc6146d6aaac42baaeeb7c0941204685 Daesh leader Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi buried at sea, US says
Travis Berry | 04 November, 2019, 09:40

The Islamic State terror group confirmed the death of its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and named his replacement as Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Quraishi, said a statement released Thursday.

Officials identified al-Baghdadi by comparing his DNA to a sample collected in 2004 by USA forces in Iraq, where they had held him.

US President Donald Trump has given a detailed account of how al-Baghdadi was chased by special forces and army dogs before getting trapped in a tunnel during the raid at a compound in Syria's Idlib province.

The Iraqi rose from obscurity to guide the ultra-hardline group and declare himself "caliph" of all Muslims, holding sway over enormous areas of Iraq and Syria from 2014-2017 earlier than Islamic State's management disintegrated beneath US-led assaults.

The recording also confirmed the death of the group's former spokesperson Abu al-Hassan al-Muhajir, who United States officials said was killed in a separate airstrike that closely followed the raid in which Baghdadi was killed.

The group confirmed its leader's death in an audiotape posted online and said a successor, who's been identified as Abu Ibrahim al-Hashemi al-Quraishi, had been named.

The Pentagon had also released a short video of the raid to dispel any doubts that might arise over Baghdadi's killing.

The commander in charge of the operation, General Kenneth McKenzie Jr, said USA soldiers killed four women inside the compound who had threatened them.

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U.S. military leaders have cautioned against writing off the outfit, which has suffered severe reverses in recent years including the loss of its so-called "caliphate" made of areas captured from Syria and Iraq.

IS did not provide many details about the new leader or release a photo, but it did describe him as a "prominent figure in jihad".

The general said a military dog whom the US Special Operations Command had used for approximately 50 combat missions over four years had sustained injuries when he came in contact with exposed live electrical cables in the tunnel after al-Baghdadi detonated his explosives vest.

After the raid, the compound was destroyed in an air strike.

French President Emmanuel Macron said al-Baghdadi's death was a major blow against ISIS, but "the fight continues to finally defeat this terrorist organisation". He said Baghdadi's identity was established via DNA analysis of a sample taken during his time at a US prison in Iraq.

Islamic State has resorted to guerrilla assaults since dropping its final vital piece of territory in Syria in March.

Within Syria and Iraq, he added, ISIL has at least 14,000 fighters.

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