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Who was slain IS leader Abu al-Hassan al-Hashemi al-Quraishi

Al-Quraishi, who was made the IS leader in March 2022, was the brother of longtime leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

IS gained notoriety in the mid-2010s in the regions of Iraq and Syria, for releasing shocking videos of beheadings of civilians. (Representational Image)

Abu al-Hassan al-Hashemi al-Quraishi, leader of the militant group Islamic State, has been killed, the group’s spokesman said in an audio message posted on a Telegram channel. The group has selected Abu al-Husayn al-Husayni al-Qurashi as a successor, he added.

No one has claimed responsibility for the killing. US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters at The White House, “We’re still working our way through that,” adding, “We welcome the announcement that another leader of ISIS is no longer walking the face of the Earth.”

Who was Abu al-Hassan al-Hashemi al-Quraishi?

In March this year, al-Quraishi was appointed as the leader of the Islamic State (IS), a terrorist group that gained notoriety in the mid-2010s in the regions of Iraq and Syria, release shocking videos of beheadings of civilians and taking control of large areas in a short amount of time with the help of massive online propaganda.

IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared the areas the group held sway over as part of an Islamic caliphate, in Iraq’s Mosul in 2014, proclaiming himself caliph of all Muslims.

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The announcement that Abu al-Husayn al-Husayni al-Qurashi would take over as IS leader came in March 2022, after the US authorities claimed the previous leader triggered a device to kill himself during a US raid in Syria.

At the time, little was known about al-Quraishi. However, even then it was speculated that the death of the group’s leader was bound to weaken it, coming around two years after it lost longtime leader al-Baghdadi in a similar raid in 2019.

Connection to al-Baghdadi

It was later learnt that al-Quraishi was the brother of al-Baghdadi. Reuters reported that al-Quraishi’s real name was believed to be Juma Awad al-Badr. “Badri is a radical who joined Salafi jihadist groups in 2003 and was known to always accompany Baghdadi as a personal companion and Islamic legal adviser,” an Iraqi security official was reported as saying.

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Badri’s nom-de-guerre, also Quraishi, indicated that like his brother and his predecessor, he is believed to trace his lineage from the Prophet Mohammed, giving him religious clout among fellow jihadists, added the report.

While IS has undoubtedly shrunken in terms of both areas it holds influence in, and the finances it now has available, it is still a significant threat. According to a UN estimate, it still had a war chest of around $25 million to $50 million.

First published on: 30-11-2022 at 22:32 IST
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