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The leader of the Islamic State has been killed in battle, the group has announced. © Associated Press Pic: AP
Abu al Hassan al Hashimi al Qurayshi is the second IS leader to be killed this year, at a time when the extremist group has been trying to rise again.
Its sleeper cells (smaller groups that remain dormant until instructed to act) have been carrying out deadly attacks in Iraq and Syria, and its affiliate in Afghanistan has also claimed responsibility for assaults that killed dozens in recent months.
"He died fighting the enemies of God killing some of them before being killed like a man on the battlefield," IS spokesman Abu Omar al Muhajer said.
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The U.S. and Turkey are at loggerheads over a Turkish ground invasion into Syria that could breathe new life into the Islamic State and endanger American personnel.Syrian Kurdish forces have incarcerated thousands of ISIS terrorists from more than 50 countries in prisons in northeastern Syrian.
The US military said al Qurayshi was killed in mid-October, adding that the operation was conducted by Syrian rebels in the southern province of Daraa.
It was not clear why the announcement was made on Wednesday - more than a month after al Qurayshi was killed.
"We certainly welcome the news of the death of another IS leader. I don't have any additional operational details to provide at this time," said US National Security Council coordinator for strategic communications, John Kirby.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition war monitor, reported in mid-October, that Syrian rebels killed a group of IS fighters in Daraa province.
They included a commander identified as an Iraqi citizen along with a Lebanese fighter and others, the observatory said.
Students killed in explosion at Afghanistan religious school, Taliban blame ISIS for 'unforgivable crime'
A number of explosions have rocked Afghanistan in the year since the Taliban assumed control, with no one taking responsibility in the immediate aftermath each time."This is the handiwork of the enemies of the people of Afghanistan who target innocent people and children," Suhail Shaheen, the Taliban's permanent representative of Afghanistan to the United Nations, told Fox News Digital. "No doubt, their true nature is revealed to the world and to the Afghan people through their gruesome and horrendous acts.
It added one of the IS fighters detonated an explosive belt he was wearing during the clash.
It has not been confirmed if this is the attack in which al Qurayshi was killed.
Al Qurayshi was not his real name
Little had been known about al Qurayshi, who took over the group's leadership following the death of his predecessor, Abu Ibrahim al Hashimi al Qurayshi, who was killed in a US raid in February in northwest Syria.
The two men are not believed to be related, with al Qurayshi not being their real name.
Abu al Hussein al Husseini al Qurayshi has been announced as the new head of the group.
The death marked a blow to IS, who were defeated in Iraq in 2017 and in Syria two years later.
Al Qurayshi is the third leader to be killed since founder Abu Bakr al Baghdadi was hunted down by US forces in a raid in October 2019.
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