BEIRUT, Lebanon — The Islamic State on Tuesday introduced that it has a new chief, but offered little data on the true identification or background of the person who will now oversee the worldwide terrorist group.
The new chief, Abu al-Hasan al-Hashimi al-Qurashi, was unveiled in an audio message launched on Islamic State social media accounts that additionally confirmed the demise of the group’s earlier chief, who American officers say blew himself up throughout a U.S. commando raid on his hide-out in northwestern Syria final month.
Mr. al-Qurashi takes the reins of a terrorist group that’s a shadow of its former self by way of members and energy, but nonetheless causes havoc in poorly ruled areas in Syria, Iraq, elements of Africa and elsewhere.
In January, Islamic State fighters carried out a daring attack on a prison run by a U.S.-backed Kurdish militia in northeastern Syria with the intention of liberating their detained comrades. Hundreds of attackers, prisoners and Kurdish militiamen had been killed in additional than week of combating earlier than the jail was brought back under Kurdish control. It remains to be unclear what number of prisoners managed to flee throughout the violence.
A number of days after the jail battle ended, American commandos carried out a raid on a farmhouse in northwestern Syria, removed from the Islamic State’s conventional redoubt, geared toward killing or capturing the person who then served because the group’s chief, Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi.
Mr. al-Qurayshi detonated some explosives throughout the raid, U.S. officers stated, killing himself and others in the home.
The Islamic State didn’t instantly touch upon the raid and solely confirmed the demise of the previous chief within the audio message launched on Tuesday.
The message stated that he had designated his successor earlier than he died, but in any other case supplied scant details about the brand new chief, offering neither his actual title nor a picture of him, and making it laborious to attract conclusions about his outlook or how he may lead the group.
Withholding that data will most certainly diminish the possibilities that the brand new chief might be hunted down and killed. Both of his predecessors had been killed by U.S. commandos in northwestern Syria, the place that they had been making an attempt to dwell off the grid and talk with underlings solely through trusted courier to keep away from detection.
In latest years, the Islamic State has gone from working a proto-state the dimensions of Britain in Iraq and Syria, to working as a diffuse group that carries out largely unsophisticated assaults in remoted elements of Iraq and Syria.
Though the group seems to be at its lowest ebb in Iraq in years, terrorism specialists warning that governments have written ISIS off earlier than, solely to see it come roaring again when situations gave it a gap.