Islamic State names new chief after prior chief’s dying

The Islamic State group introduced a brand new chief on Thursday, naming Abu al-Hassan al-Hashimi al-Qurashi because the group’s new commander and calling on all followers to pledge allegiance.

An IS audio assertion launched at this time, however apparently recorded final month, named Abu al-Hassan as its caliph and confirmed the dying of its prior head, Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurashi – also called Abdullah Qaradash or Hajji Abdullah.

Hajji Abdullah, who blew himself up in a US Particular Forces raid in northwest Syria on February 2, had chosen Abu al-Hassan as his successor previous to his personal dying, IS stated within the assertion.

The group didn’t affirm the circumstances of Hajji Abdullah’s dying, saying solely that he and spokesperson Abu Hamza al-Qurashi died whereas combating.

Why it Issues: Whereas the brand new chief’s actual id stays unclear, reports of his appointment emerged nearly instantly following his predecessor’s dying.

  • Hajji Abdullah, an early follower of Jordanian Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, was believed to have been an Iraqi Turkmen from Tal Afar.

  • If he did personally appoint Abu Ibrahim, the latter might also stem from an ever-shrinking cadre of veteran Iraqi jihadists, Syrian journalist Hassan Hassan has argued.

The jihadi group has but to launch a picture of its new chief, suggesting within the audio assertion that one might be launched sooner or later.

What’s Subsequent: US officers have cautioned that final month’s dying of Hajji Abdullah wouldn’t be the tip of the IS terror group.

Shortly earlier than his dying, the jihadi chief oversaw the group’s deadliest assault in years — a prison break that left tons of lifeless within the northeast Syrian metropolis of Hasakah. IS’s assertion at this time confirmed Hajji Abdullah’s function within the assault.

The battle was a transparent signal that the group nonetheless has a major variety of sympathizers prepared to kill and die for his or her ideology.

Know Extra: Learn Al-Monitor’s three takeaways from the death of Hajji Abdullah final month.

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