BEIRUT: The militant Islamic State group said on Wednesday that its leader Abu Hasan al-Hashimi al-Qurashi has been killed in battle and announced a replacement.

A spokesman for the group said Hashimi, an Iraqi, was killed “in combat with enemies of God”, without elaborating on the date of his death or the circumstances.

Speaking in an audio message, the spokesman identified the group’s new leader as Abu al-Hussein al-Husseini al-Qurashi.The spokesman did not provide details on the new leader, but said he was a “veteran” jihadist and called on all groups loyal to IS to pledge their allegiance.

After a meteoric rise in Iraq and Syria in 2014 that saw it conquer vast swathes of territory, IS saw its self-proclaimed “caliphate” collapse under a wave of offensives.

It was defeated in Iraq in 2017 and in Syria two years later, but sleeper cells of the extremist group still carry out attacks in both countries.

Published in Dawn, December 1st, 2022

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