ISIL armed group announces death of its leader

The armed group twas defeated in Iraq in 2017 and in Syria two years later [File: Reuters]

A spokesman for the group said its leader Abu Hasan al-Hashimi al-Qurashi, was killed ‘in combat’.

ISIL (ISIS) leader Abu Hasan al-Hashimi al-Qurashi has been killed, the armed group’s spokesman said in an audio message.

Abu Omar al-Muhajer did not elaborate on the date or circumstances of al-Qurashi’s death other than to say on Wednesday that the Iraqi had “died in battle”.

He announced that Abu al-Hussein al-Husseini al-Qurashi will be the group’s new leader.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, US CENTCOM spokesman Colonel Joe Buccino said al-Quraishi was killed in mid-October.

“This operation was conducted by The Free Syrian Army in Dar’a province in Syria. ISIS remains a threat to the region. CENTCOM and our partners remain focused on the enduring defeat of ISIS,” he said in the statement.

Little had been known about Abu Hasan al-Qurashi, who took over the group’s leadership following the death of Abu Ibrahim al-Qurashi, his predecessor, in a US raid in February in northwest Syria’s Idlib province.

Al-Qurashi is believed to be a nom de guerre that various ISIL leaders have adopted.

The deaths of successive leaders mark a blow to the armed group, which a US-led coalition said it had defeated in Iraq in 2017 and in Syria two years later. But sleeper cells of the armed group still carry out attacks in both countries.

The ISIL group declared its so-called “caliphate” in 2014 after conquering vast swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria.

A US-led military coalition launched an operation dubbed “Inherent Resolve” in 2014 to get ISIL out of the areas it controlled.

Abu Hasan al-Qurashi is the second ISIL leader to be killed since founder Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was killed in Syria’s Idlib by the US in 2019.

Turkey in September said security forces had arrested Bashar Khattab Ghazal al-Sumaidai, a “senior executive” of ISIL who was also known as Abu Zeyd.

Turkish media said there were some indications Sumaidai might have been the ISIL leader, Abu Hasan al-Hashimi al-Qurashi.



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