The so-called Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has officially acknowledged the death of its infamous founder and leader Abu Baker al-Baghdadi.
The terrorist group’s al-Furqan agency released on October 31 a short audio message of the group’s new spokesman, Abu Hamza al-Qurashi, who confirmed that al-Baghdadi was killed “a few days ago.”
President Donald Trump announced last week that al-Baghdadi blew himself up when U.S. Special Forces raided his hideout in the northwestern Syrian province of Idlib.
Al-Qurashi also acknowledged that ISIS spokesman Abul-Hasan al-Muhajir was killed. Al-Muhajir was appointed as the terrorist group’s main spokesman on December 5, 2016. He was also killed by the U.S. last week.
According to al-Qurashi, al-Baghdadi succeeded by Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurashi, who was elected by the terrorist group’s Shura Council.
Several sources revealed that ISIS new leader’s real name is “Abdullah Qardash,” a former officer in Saddam Hussein’s army.
Qardash is a Turkmen originating from Tell Afar in western Iraq. He was a religious commissar in al-Qaeda before joining ISIS. Following the raise of ISIS in 2014, Qardash oversaw operations against the Free Syrian Army (FSA) in Aleppo and the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) in Deir Ezzor.
The terrorist leader also personally oversaw the selection of suicide bombers and the conduct of suicide operations for the Islamic State.
Qardash was jailed in 2003–2004 by the US authorities with al-Baghdadi in Camp Bucca in Basra. He reportedly became one of al-Baghdadi’s closest companions in that period.
The appointment of Qardash was not a surprise. Many terrorism experts commented that the terrorist, nicknamed “the Professor,” was the second in-line to the ISIS leadership. Under the command of Qardash, ISIS will likely continue its terrorist activities and further.