ISIS names new leader af­ter killing of Al Bagh­dadi

The National - News - - FRONT PAGE - TAY­LOR HEYMAN

ISIS named its new leader, five days af­ter the death of for­mer head Abu Bakr Al Bagh­dadi in a US raid.

The group’s new spokesman Abu Hamza Al Qu­rayshi con­firmed the ap­point­ment of Abu Ibrahim Al Hashimi Al Qu­rayshi.

The an­nounce­ment on Thurs­day was made us­ing an au­dio mes­sage posted to ISIS chan­nels on en­crypted mes­sag­ing app Tele­gram.

The mes­sage said the “Shura Coun­cil of ISIS, af­ter con­sul­ta­tion, agreed to act upon Bagh­dadi’s will and pledge al­le­giance to Abu Ibrahim Al Hashimi Al Qu­rayshi”, said Rita Katz, di­rec­tor of the Site In­tel­li­gence Group.

Abu Hamza re­places Abu Has­san Al Muha­jir as the group’s spokesman, who was killed by Kur­dish fight­ers in a raid with US spe­cial forces. Al Bagh­dadi killed him­self us­ing an ex­plo­sive vest dur­ing a US oper­a­tion in Bar­isha, Syria.

The au­dio mes­sage warned the US not to re­joice in the killing of its leader, and claimed the group would con­tinue to op­er­ate out­side the Mid­dle East.

The ISIS spokesman de­scribed Mr Trump as “a crazy old man” and said “do not re­joice Amer­ica, the new cho­sen one will make you for­get the hor­ror you have be­holden ... and make the achieve­ments of the Bagh­dadi days taste sweet”.

Ay­menn Al Tamimi, a re­searcher at Swansea Univer­sity in the UK fo­cus­ing on ISIS, said the name of the new leader was un­known but could re­fer to a fig­ure in the group, Hajj Ab­dul­lah, whom the US State De­part­ment had iden­ti­fied as a pos­si­ble suc­ces­sor to Bagh­dadi.

The US re­leased a video of the raid that led to the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al Bagh­dadi in Idlib, Syria, and gave a warn­ing that the group may at­tempt a “ret­ri­bu­tion at­tack”.

The video shows night-vi­sion footage from a he­li­copter in which shots are fired and the as­sault force ap­proaches a walled com­pound.

Gen Frank McKen­zie of US Cen­tral Com­mand, who hosted a brief­ing where the footage was shown, said that six ISIS mem­bers were killed in the at­tack – four women and two men, in­clud­ing Al Bagh­dadi.

He also said that two chil­dren, be­lieved to be un­der 12, lost their lives when the mil­i­tant took them into a “hole” – de­scribed as a tun­nel in pre­vi­ous an­nounce­ments – and ex­ploded his sui­cide vest.

Gen McKen­zie said fight­ers not be­lieved to have been af­fil­i­ated with Al Bagh­dadi were killed in air strikes af­ter they fired at the he­li­copter, and that non-com­bat­ants were de­tained dur­ing the mis­sion but later re­leased. US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump said dur­ing a press brief­ing on Sun­day that at least seven peo­ple were killed in ad­di­tion to the ISIS leader, as well as three chil­dren.

“About Bagh­dadi’s last mo­ments, I can tell you this: he crawled into a hole with two small chil­dren and blew him­self up as his peo­ple stayed on the ground,” said Gen McKen­zie.

“So you can de­duce what kind of per­son he is based on that ac­tiv­ity. I’m not able to con­firm any­thing else about his last sec­onds.”

He also sug­gested the US mil­i­tary had se­cured a large amount of in­tel­li­gence about ISIS’s ac­tiv­i­ties dur­ing the raid.

He said that ISIS would prob­a­bly try to stage some kind of re­tal­ia­tory at­tack.

“And we are pos­tured and pre­pared for that,” he said.

The US raid to find Al Bagh­dadi, who had been falsely re­ported as dead sev­eral times be­fore, was ded­i­cated to Kayla Mueller, an Amer­i­can aid worker who was taken as a hostage and raped by the mil­i­tant.

He was buried at sea at an undis­closed lo­ca­tion.

Reuters; AFP

Footage re­leased by the US mil­i­tary shows the com­pound where ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al Bagh­dadi was hid­ing in Idlib, Syria. Above right, Gen Frank McKen­zie at a press brief­ing where the footage was shown

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UAE

© PressReader. All rights reserved.