The new spokesman also sent a warning to the USA saying ISIS is still expanding worldwide, and said the group will seek revenge. Washington had put a $35 million price on the head of al-Baghdadi and the mole, who was cultivated by the Syrian Kurds before being passed to the Americans, is likely to pick up some or all of the cash.
USA forces, which launched from an undisclosed location inside Syria for the one-hour helicopter ride to al-Baghdadi's lair, bombed the site again after soldiers completed their mission so that it would not stand as a shrine to the extremist. Aymenn al-Tamimi, a researcher at Swansea University focusing on Islamic State, said the name was unknown but could refer to a leading figure in Islamic State called Hajj Abdullah, whom the US State Department had identified as a possible successor. "The leaders of the Mujahedeen agreed after consultation with their brethren and acting according to the will of [Baghdadi] they pledged allegiance to Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi as the new leader of the Believers", the new spokesman said.
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The Pentagon had also released a short video of the raid to dispel any doubts that might arise over Baghdadi's killing.
IS took control of large swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria in 2014.
The news came Thursday in an audio message released by the terror group.
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Islamic State (IS), which held swathes of Iraq and Syria from 2014-2017 before its self-styled caliphate disintegrated under USA -led attacks, had previously been silent about Baghdadi's status.
"Do you not realize that the State today is not only on the doorstep of Europe and in the center of Africa, it is staying and expanding from the east to the west", the new spokesman of the group, Abu Hamza al-Qarshi, said. Isis said the new leader is a "prominent figure in jihad" and that the veteran fighter had fought against the U.S. in the past. It did not share a photo of the new leader. He had served as a spokesman for the group since 2016. Doing so is a way to create legitimacy for their leadership because the prophet Muhammad is said to be from the Quraysh tribe. Addressing the United States, the group reportedly said, "Do you not see how you have become the laughingstock of the nations".
The death of Baghdadi was a milestone in the fight against ISIS, which brutalized swaths of Syria and Iraq and sought to direct a global campaign from a self-declared "caliphate".
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