IS says leader Abu al-Hassan al-Qurayshi killed in battle

Al-Qurayshi is the second IS leader to be killed this year at a time when the extremist group has been trying to rise again with its sleeper cells carrying out deadly attacks in Iraq and Syria.
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CTS arrests an ISIS suspect (Photo: CTS)
CTS arrests an ISIS suspect (Photo: CTS)

BEIRUT (AP) — The leader of the Islamic State group, Abu al-Hassan al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi, was killed in battle recently, the group’s spokesman said in audio released Wednesday. He gave no further details.

Al-Qurayshi is the second IS leader to be killed this year at a time when the extremist group has been trying to rise again with its sleeper cells carrying out deadly attacks in Iraq and Syria. Its affiliate in Afghanistan also claimed attacks that killed dozens in recent months.

Little had been known about al-Qurayshi, who took over the group’s leadership following the death of his predecessor, Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi, in a U.S. raid in February in northwest Syria.

None of the al-Qurayshis are believed to be related. Al-Qurayshi is not their real name but comes from Quraish, the name of the tribe that Islam’s Prophet Muhammad belonged to. IS claims its leaders hail from this tribe and “al-Qurayshi” serves as part of an IS leader’s nom de guerre.

The death marked a blow to the group that was defeated in Iraq in 2017 and in Syria two years later. The announcement by IS spokesman Abu Omar al-Muhajer came at a time when IS has been trying to carry out deadly attacks in parts of Syria and Iraq the extremists once declared a caliphate.