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World: ISIL armed group announces death of its leader

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The ISIL leader Abu Hasan al-Hashimi al-Qurashi was killed in a battle recently, the armed group’s spokesman said in an audio released without elaborating on the date of his death or the circumstances.

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Al-Hashimi, an Iraqi, died “fighting the enemies of God killing”, Abu Omar al-Muhajer, the spokesman, said on Wednesday, as he announced the group’s new leader as Abu al-Hussein al-Husseini al-Qurashi.

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“He is one of the veteran warriors and one of the loyal sons of the Islamic State [of Iraq and the Levant],” al-Muhajer said.

Little had been known about al-Quraishi, who took over the group’s leadership following the death of his predecessor, Abu Ibrahim al-Qurashi, in a US raid in February in northwest Syria’s Idlib province. None of the al-Quraishis is believed to be related.

The death marked a blow to the armed group that was defeated in Iraq in 2017 and in Syria two years later. But sleeper cells of the armed group still carry out attacks in both countries.

The ISIL (ISIS) group declared its so-called “caliphate” in 2014 after conquering vast swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria. The group has been trying to group in the two countries in recent months.

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“We certainly welcome the news of the death of another ISIS leader. I don’t have any additional operational details to provide at this time,” said the spokesman for the US National Security Council, John Kirby.

Al-Quraishi is the third leader to be killed since founder Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was killed in Syria’s Idlib by the Americans in 2019.

The US leads a military coalition comprising Syrian Democratic Forces in its battle against ISIL in northeastern Syria.

Turkey in September said security forces had arrested a “senior executive” of ISIL known as Abu Zeyd, whose real name was Bashar Khattab Ghazal al-Sumaidai.

Turkish media said there were some indications Sumaidai might have been the ISIL leader, Abu Hasan al-Hashimi al-Qurashi.

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