Islamic State Confirms Death of Leader, Announces Heir

Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi was killed during a raid by U.S. forces in Syria last month, and his replacement will be Abu Al-Hassan Al-hashemi Al-Quraishi

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People inspect a destroyed house following an operation by the U.S. military in the Syrian village of Atmeh, in Idlib province, Syria, today
People inspect a destroyed house following an operation by the U.S. military in the Syrian village of Atmeh in Idlib province, Syria last month.Credit: Ghaith Alsayed /AP

Islamic State confirmed the death of its leader Abu Ibrahim Al-hashemi Al-Quraishi on Thursday, a month after he died during a U.S. operation in Syria, and announced Abu Al-Hassan Al-hashemi Al-Quraishi as its new leader.

U.S. special forces killed the leader of the jihadist group in a raid in northwest Syria, President Joe Biden said in February.

The death of Quraishi, 45, was another crushing blow to ISIS two years after the violent Sunni Muslim group lost longtime leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in a similar raid in 2019.

FILE – U.S. reward announcement regarding ISIS leader Amir Mohammed Said Abd al-Rahman al-Mawla, aka Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-QurayshiCredit: HANDOUT - AFP

Last month, U.S. special forces carried out what the Pentagon said was a large-scale counterterrorism raid in northwestern Syria, but no further details were immediately provided.

First responders and war monitors reported that 13 people had been killed, including six children and four women.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett congratulated the U.S. and the American soldiers on a "daring operation," and said that "the world is a safer place now that the ISIS leader Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi has been killed."

A damaged house after an operation by the U.S. military in the Syrian village of Atmeh last month.

Al-Qurayshi set off a bomb that killed himself and members of his family, including women and children, a senior U.S. administration official told Reuters on Thursday.

Biden said that the ISIS leader's choice to "blow himself up" was "cowardly." U.S. officials also added that American forces successfully removed civilians from the apartment building before the suicide bomb was detonated. Al-Qurayshi's wife and children were among those killed, officials said.

The operation, which residents say lasted over two hours, jolted the sleepy village of Atmeh near the Turkish border – an area dotted with camps for internally displaced people from Syria's civil war.

Damaged shops after an operation by the U.S. military in the Syrian village of Atmeh last month. Credit: AP\Ghaith Alsayed

“The mission was successful,” Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said in a brief statement. “There were no U.S. casualties. More information will be provided as it becomes available.”

It was the largest raid in the province since the 2019 Trump-era U.S. assault that killed the Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

Little was publicly known about al-Qurashi, who has led the extremist group since the death of al-Baghdadi.

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