ISIS Confirms Death of Leader Al-Baghdadi, Names New Chief and Vows Revenge Against US
The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS) armed group has confirmed the death of its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, announcing Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi as its new chief.
Abu Hamza al-Qurayshi, ISIS’s new spokesman, made the announcement on Thursday in an audio statement distributed by the group’s media arm, al-Furqan, days after a weekend raid by US forces that resulted in al-Baghdadi’s death.
“We mourn you … commander of the faithful,” he said, adding that ISIS’s legislative and consultative body convened after the 48-year-old Iraqi-born chief’s death.
“The Islamic State shura council convened immediately after confirming the martyrdom of Sheikh Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and the elders of the holy warriors agreed” on a replacement.
The seven-minute statement did not provide any other details about the new leader and it was not immediately clear who the name was in reference to. ISIS usually identifies its leaders using noms de guerre that refer to their tribal affiliation and lineage. Those names often change.
The audio also addressed the United States, saying: “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.”
“Beware vengeance (against) their nation and their brethren of infidels and apostates, and carrying out the will of the commander of the faithful in his last audio message, and getting closer to God with the blood of polytheists,” he said.
Baghdadi’s death is likely to cause Islamic State to splinter, leaving whoever emerges as its new leader with the task of pulling the group back together as a fighting force, according to analysts.