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National Security & Defense

ISIS Confirms Baghdadi’s Death, Names New Leader

A bearded man with Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s appearance speaks in this screen grab taken from video released on April 29, 2019. (Islamic State Group/Al Furqan Media Network/Reuters )

The Islamic State’s official propaganda outlet Amaq confirmed the death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi on Thursday, five days after U.S. special forces executed a daring night raid in northwestern Syria that resulted in the ISIS leader’s death.

According to SITE Intel Group, which monitors releases from ISIS, the terrorist group also confirmed the death of its former spokesman, Abu al-Hassan al-Muhajir — whom President Trump called Baghdadi’s “number one replacement” — in a different strike.

ISIS named Abu Ibrahim Hashimi al-Quraishi, a name unknown by ISIS experts, as the group’s new leader.

Aymenn al-Tamimi, a researcher at Swansea University focused on Islamic State, told Reuters that al-Quriashi could be a top figure called Hajj Abdullah, whom the U.S. State Department had identified as a possible successor to Baghdadi

“It could be someone we know, who perhaps has just assumed this new name,” Tamimi said.

In response to the news, Republican Senator Ben Sasse released a statement on the appointment.

“We killed the last murderous bastard who ran ISIS. Let’s go get the next one,” Sasse stated.

On Thursday, the Pentagon released details of the Baghdadi raid, along with pictures and video footage. “This operation was exquisitely planned and executed. It demonstrates the United States’ global reach and our unwavering commitment to destroy ISIS,” Marine General Kenneth McKenzie, the four-star chief of Central Command, told reporters. “. . . The individuals who planned and conducted this mission are quiet professionals, focused on their mission above glory or recognition. Committed people did hard, risky work, and they did it well.”

The raid resulted in the deaths of six ISIS fighters, including Baghdadi.

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