Wed | Feb 8, 2023

IS says leader killed in battle

Published:Thursday | December 1, 2022 | 12:06 AM
A fighter from the Christian Syriac militia that battles the Islamic State group under the banner of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, burns an IS flag on the frontline on the western side of Raqqa, northeast Syria, in July 2017.
A fighter from the Christian Syriac militia that battles the Islamic State group under the banner of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, burns an IS flag on the frontline on the western side of Raqqa, northeast Syria, in July 2017.

BEIRUT (AP):

The leader of the Islamic State (IS) group, Abu al-Hassan al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi, was killed in battle recently, the group’s spokesman said in an audio released on Wednesday. He gave no further details.

Al-Qurayshi is the second IS leader to be killed this year at a time when the extremist group has been trying to rise again, with its sleeper cells carrying out deadly attacks in Iraq and Syria. Its affiliate in Afghanistan also claimed attacks that killed dozens in recent months.

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

None of the al-Qurayshis are believed to be related. Al-Qurayshi is not their real name but comes from Quraish, the name of the tribe that Islam’s Prophet Muhammad belonged to. IS claims its leaders hail from this tribe and ‘al-Qurayshi’ serves as part of an IS leader’s nom de guerre.

The death marked a blow to the group that was defeated in Iraq in 2017 and in Syria two years later. The announcement by IS spokesman Abu Omar al-Muhajer came at a time when IS has been trying to carry out deadly attacks in parts of Syria and Iraq the extremists once declared a caliphate.

“He died fighting the enemies of God, killing some of them before being killed like a man on the battlefield,” al-Muhajer said.

Al-Muhajer said that Abu al-Hussein al-Husseini al-Qurayshi was named as the group’s new leader.

“He is one of the veteran warriors and one of the loyal sons of the Islamic State,” al-Muhajer said. Little is also known about Abu al-Hussein al-Husseini al-Qurayshi.

Asked in Washington about al-Qurayshi’s death, the spokesman for the US National Security Council, John Kirby, said: “We certainly welcome the news of the death of another ISIS leader. I don’t have any additional operational details to provide at this time.”

Al-Qurayshi is the third leader to be killed since founder Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was hunted down by the Americans in a raid in northwest in October 2019.

No one claimed responsibility for the killing.