Militant group warns U.S. its new leader will make them long for the days of Baghdadi’s rule
The Islamic State militant group on Thursday confirmed the death of its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and announced that Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Quraishi would replace him for the top spot.
Baghdadi, who had led I.S. since 2014 and was the world’s most wanted man, detonated a suicide vest, killing himself and two children, during a U.S. special forces raid in Syria’s Idlib on Sunday. U.S. officials have said he was buried at sea under the rules of armed conflict.
In a seven-minute audio statement, I.S. said the group’s leadership had convened after Baghdadi’s death to determine its next course of action. “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, it said. Observers say there is little public information about the new chief of I.S. apart from his previous position as the head of the group’s sharia committee.
The statement, issued by a new spokesman for I.S., Abu Hamza al-Quraishi, also warned the U.S. against celebrating Baghdadi’s death. “Do not rejoice America,” he said. “The new chosen one will make you forget the horror you have beholden… and make the achievements of the Baghdadi days taste sweet.”