Like the Hydra of Lerna, the Islamic State group never loses its head for long. The terrorist organization confirmed the death of its leader Abu Ibrahim al-Hachimi al-Qurachi, just over a month after the announcement of his death by the United States. And, in the process, named his successor, according to a press release released Thursday.
IS jihadists have “sworn allegiance to Abu Hassan al-Hashimi al-Qurachi, the emir of believers and caliph of Muslims,” the group’s spokesman said in an audio recording. The death of the former IS leader as well as his previous spokesman are also confirmed in the recording.
“Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurachi and the official spokesman of the Islamic State (…) Abu Hamza al-Qurachi were killed recently,” added the new spokesman. The former leader of IS blew himself up during an operation by US special forces in northwestern Syria, an area under the control of jihadists, US President Joe Biden announced on February 3. last.
Qourachi, from Tal Afar, 70 kilometers west of Mosul in Iraq, ended October 2019 as head of the group after the elimination of his predecessor Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi the same month. The Sunni terror organization’s new leader, the group’s third since its inception, is relatively unknown. He takes the reins of the EI at a time when the group is weakened by successive offensives supported by the United States in Iraq and Syria, to thwart a resurgence of jihadists.
The Syrian Democratic Forces, dominated by the Kurds and supported by the international coalition, defeated IS in Syria in 2019 by driving it out of its last stronghold of Baghouz in the province of Deir Ezzor (east).
But the Islamic State “maintains a largely clandestine presence in Iraq and Syria and leads a sustained insurgency on both sides of the border between the two countries”, according to a UN report published last year. In these two countries, the jihadist organization would retain “a total of 10,000 active fighters”, according to this report.