Islamic State aka `Da’ish’ has named Abu al-Hassan al-Hashemi al-Quraishi, brother of slain Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, as the new chief of the terror outfit.
Da’ish released an audio message announcing Abu al-Hassan al-Hashemi al-Quraishi as its new chief
The announcement came weeks after the death last month of Abu Ibrahim al-Quraishi, the man who in turn succeeded Baghdadi in 2019 and became the group’s second so-called caliph. Both Baghdadi and Quraishi died by blowing themselves and family members up during US raids on their hideouts in northern Syria.
Da’ish, a successor to al Qaeda’s notoriously bloodthirsty Iraq branch, has its roots in an insurgency against US forces after they invaded Iraq and toppled Sunni Muslim dictator Saddam Hussein in 2003.
Da’ish in its current form emerged from the chaos of the civil war in neighbouring Syria last decade and took over vast swathes of Iraq and Syria in 2014. Baghdadi declared an “Islamic caliphate” from a mosque in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul in 2014 and proclaimed himself caliph of all Muslims.
Islamic State’s brutal rule, during which it killed and executed thousands of people in the name of its narrow interpretation of Islam, came to an end in Mosul when Iraqi and international forces defeated the group there in 2017.
Its remaining thousands of militants have in recent years mostly hid out in remote territory but are still able to carry out significant insurgent-style attacks.
The new leader’s real name is Juma Awad al-Badri, he is Iraqi and Baghdadi’s elder brother, two Iraqi security officials told Reuters. A Western security official confirmed the two men were brothers but did not specify which was older.
It is the first time this has been revealed since Da’ish announced the new leader.
Little is known about Badri, but he comes from a close circle of shadowy, battle-hardened Iraqi militants who emerged in the aftermath of the 2003 US invasion.
“Badri is a radical who joined militant groups in 2003 and was known to always accompany Baghdadi as a personal companion and Islamic legal adviser,” one of the Iraqi security officials said.
The official said Badri has long been head of Dai’sh’s Shura Council, a leadership group that guides strategy and decides succession when a caliph is killed or captured.
Research by the late Iraqi Da’ish expert Hisham al-Hashemi published online in 2020 said Badri was the leader of the five-member Shura Council.
The audio recording announcing the new leader said he had been named by Quraishi as his successor before his death.
Iraqi security officials and analysts have said that the new leader will continue trying to wage attacks across Iraq and Syria and that he might have his own vision for how those attacks are carried out.
Badri will inherit control over financial resources that are significant, according to a report written in December by the United Nations sanctions monitoring team.
“Recent assessments … put the group’s reserves at between $25 million and $50 million,” it said, but added that Da’ish spends more than it earns, relying on “opportunistic extortion, looting and kidnap for ransom.”
Badri has two other brothers, one detained for years by Iraqi security services, the Iraqi security official said. The other brother’s whereabouts is not known, but he is believed to be another radical, he said.