CAIRO (Reuters) – Islamic State confirmed on Thursday that its chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was killed in a weekend raid by U.S. forces in northwestern Syria and vowed revenge in opposition to america.
Late Islamic State chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is seen in an undated image launched by the U.S. Division of Protection in Washington, U.S. October 30, 2019. U.S. Division of Protection/Handout through REUTERS
Baghdadi, an Iraqi jihadist who rose from obscurity to develop into the top of the ultra-hardline group and declare himself “caliph” of all Muslims, died throughout the swoop by U.S. particular forces.
Islamic State (IS), which held swathes of Iraq and Syria from 2014-2017 earlier than its self-styled caliphate disintegrated beneath U.S.-led assaults, had beforehand been silent about Baghdadi’s standing.
It confirmed his demise in an audio tape posted on-line and stated a successor it recognized solely as Abu Ibrahim al-Hashemi al-Quraishi had been appointed.
Aymenn al-Tamimi, a researcher at Swansea College specializing in Islamic State, stated the title was unknown however may consult with a number one determine in Islamic State referred to as Hajj Abdullah whom the U.S. State Division had recognized as a attainable successor to Baghdadi.
An IS spokesman addressed america within the tape.
“Beware vengeance (in opposition to) their nation and their brethren of infidels and apostates, and finishing up the need of the commander of the trustworthy in his final audio message, and getting nearer to God with the blood of polytheists,” he stated.
Baghdadi’s loss of life is more likely to trigger Islamic State to splinter, leaving whoever emerges as its new chief with the duty of pulling the group again collectively as a preventing drive, in response to analysts.
Whether or not the lack of its chief will in itself have an effect on the group’s capabilities is open to debate. Even when it does face difficulties within the management transition, the underlying ideology and the sectarian hatred it promoted stays engaging to many, analysts say.
Islamic State additionally confirmed the loss of life of its spokesman Abu al-Hassan al-Muhajir.
“I feel they’re making an attempt to ship the message, ‘Don’t assume you’ve destroyed the mission simply since you’ve killed Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and the official spokesman’,” Tamimi stated.
Islamic State has resorted to guerrilla assaults since dropping its final vital piece of territory in Syria in March.
Since Baghdadi’s loss of life, it had posted dozens of claims of assault in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and elsewhere.
H.A. Hellyer, senior affiliate fellow on the Carnegie Endowment for Worldwide peace, stated the group, also referred to as ISIS or Daesh, would have picked the title Quraishi for Baghdadi’s successor to recommend ancestry from the Prophet Mohammad’s tribe.
Baghdadi’s “caliph” title additionally resulted in Quraishi.
“ISIS is making an attempt to point out to its followers it respects that custom, however Muslims extra broadly aren’t more likely to care very a lot, contemplating the large violations of Islamic regulation that ISIS has clearly engaged inside,” Hellyer added.
In his final audio message, launched final month, Baghdadi stated operations had been happening every day and urged freedom for girls jailed in Iraq and Syria over their alleged hyperlinks to the group.
He additionally stated america and its proxies had been defeated in Iraq and Afghanistan, and that america had been “dragged” into Mali and Niger.
Reporting by Hesham Abdulkhalek, Yousef Saba and Ulf Laessing; Writing by Ulf Laessing; Enhancing by Mark Heinrich and Pravin Char