ISIS names a new leader, but says little about him

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ISIS names a new leader, but says little about him

BEIRUT, Lebanon – Islamic State announced on Thursday that it has a new leader, but provided little information about the true identity or background of the man who will now oversee the global terrorist organization.

The new leader, Abu al-Hasan al-Hashimi al-Kurshi, was unveiled in an audio message released on Islamic State social media accounts that also confirmed the death of the group’s previous leader, which US officials say During the American commando had blown himself up. raided his hideout in northwestern Syria last month.

Mr. al-Qurashi takes over the reins of a terrorist group that is a shadow of its former self in terms of members and power, but still wreaks havoc in poorly governed regions in Syria, Iraq, parts of Africa and elsewhere.

In January, Islamic State fighters launched a daring attack on a US-backed Kurdish militia-run prison in northeastern Syria aimed at freeing their detainees. Hundreds of attackers, prisoners and Kurdish militias were killed in fighting that lasted more than a week before the prison was brought back under Kurdish control. It is still unclear how many prisoners managed to escape during the violence.

Days after the prison battle ended, US commandos raided a farmhouse in northwestern Syria, far from the traditional redoubts of Islamic State, with the aim of killing or capturing the man who was then the group’s leader, Abu Ibrahim al-King. Served as Hashimi. Al-Qureshi.

Mr al-Quraishi detonated some explosives during the raid, US officials said, killing himself and others in the home.

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

The message stated that he had named his successor before he died, but otherwise offered little information about the new leader, provided neither his real name nor any image of him, and about his outlook. made it difficult to draw conclusions in or how he could have led the group.

Hiding that information will reduce the chances that the new leader may be hunted down and killed. Both of his predecessors were killed by US commandos in northwestern Syria, where they were trying to stay off the grid and communicate with the Underlings only through trusted couriers to avoid detection.

In recent years, Islamic State has gone from running a proto-state the size of Britain in Iraq and Syria, to operating as a sprawling organization that conducts mostly state-of-the-art attacks in isolated parts of Iraq and Syria. does.

Although the group appears to be at its lowest level in Iraq in years, terrorism experts warn that governments have already shut down ISIS, only to see it roar back when circumstances open up. .

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