Islamic State appoints new leader, but says little about him

BEIRUT, Lebanon — The Islamic State announced Thursday that it has a new leader, but offered little information on the true identity or ...

BEIRUT, Lebanon — The Islamic State announced Thursday that it has a new leader, but offered little information on the true identity or background of the man who will now oversee the global terror organization.

The new leader, Abu al-Hasan al-Hashimi al-Qurashi, was unveiled in an audio message posted on Islamic State’s social media accounts which also confirmed the death of the group’s former leader, who, according to US officials, blew himself up during a US commando. raid on his hideout in northwestern Syria last month.

Mr. al-Qurashi takes the reins of a terrorist group which is a shadow of himself in terms of membership and power, but still wreaks havoc in poorly governed areas in Syria, Iraq, parts of Africa and elsewhere.

In January, Islamic State fighters conducted a audacious attack on a prison led by a US-backed Kurdish militia in northeast Syria in a bid to free their detained comrades. Hundreds of Kurdish assailants, prisoners and militiamen were killed in more than a week of fighting before the prison opened. brought back under Kurdish control. It remains unclear how many prisoners managed to escape during the violence.

A few days after the end of the prison battle, American commandos carried out a raid on a farm in northwestern Syria, far from the traditional Islamic State redoubt, aiming to kill or capture the group’s then leader, Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi.

Mr. al-Qurayshi detonated explosives during the raid, US officials said, killing himself and others in the house.

Islamic State did not immediately comment on the raid and only confirmed the death of the former leader in the audio message.

The message said he had appointed his successor before his death, but otherwise offered little information about the new leader, providing neither his real name nor a picture of him, and making it difficult to draw conclusions about his prospects or on how he could lead the group.

Not disclosing this information will most likely reduce the chances of the new leader being hunted down and killed. His two predecessors were killed by US commandos in northwestern Syria, where they had tried to live off the grid and communicate with subordinates only through trusted mail to avoid detection.

In recent years, the Islamic State has gone from running a proto-state the size of Britain in Iraq and Syria to a diffuse organization carrying out mostly unsophisticated attacks in isolated parts of Iraq and Syria.

Although the group appears to be at its lowest level in Iraq in years, terrorism experts warn that governments have delisted ISIS before, only to see it come back in force when conditions gave it an opening.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Islamic State appoints new leader, but says little about him
Islamic State appoints new leader, but says little about him
Newsrust - US Top News
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