The Islamic State (IS) group has confirmed the death of its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and named his successor.
An IS outlet on messaging service Telegram announced that Abu Ibrahim al-Hashemi al-Qurashi was the group’s new leader and “caliph”.
The IS leader fled into a tunnel and killed himself with a suicide vest.
In an audio message, IS also confirmed the death of spokesman Abu al-Hasan al-Muhajir – who was killed in a separate joint US-Kurdish operation on 27 October. The Saudi national had been considered a potential successor to Baghdadi.
New IS spokesman Abu Hamza al-Qurashi also called on Muslims to swear allegiance to Abu Ibrahim al-Hashemi.
Who is Abu Ibrahim al-Hashemi al-Qurashi?
Hashemi’s name is not known to global security forces, and is believed to be a nom de guerre.
IS did not release many details about the new leader or release a photo, but they did claim he was a veteran jihadist fighter who had fought against the West.
The group also made clear that he claims to be descended from the Prophet Muhammad’s Quraysh tribe – something generally held by pre-modern Sunni scholars as being a key qualification for becoming a caliph, the religious-political ruler…