ISIS will be aggressively searching for a new leader from its dwindling ranks after its cowardly leader blew himself up in a US special forces raid.
Terrorist analyst Kyle Orton told The Sun Online that the group’s new boss is likely a veteran religious scholar and possibly an unknown relative.
Both ISIS terrorist leaders died under similar circumstances – detonating bombs killing themselves and their families when US commandos attacked them.
Western intelligence and security forces in the Middle East have sought the group’s failed leadership since the fall of the so-called caliphate.
With many of the group’s most famous figures now dead or in prison, the known shortlist is getting thinner and thinner.
Names such as Abdullah al-Ani, who is highly respected by the al-Qaeda leadership, and Abu Ubayda Abd al-Hakim al-Iraqi, who previously headed ISIS’ international operations, have remained.
The al-Qurashi leader’s personal spokesman, Abu Hamza al-Quarashi, who has called for “the massacre of the Jews” and urged foreign fighters to return to the Middle East is still on the run.
Al-Baghdadi’s spokesman was seen as his natural successor before he was killed – so Abu Hamza could do the same for al-Qurashi.
Extremists have called for murder in their homes and called Covid a “divine punishment” against the “crusaders”.
But with bonuses of up to $10 million on top, many high-ranking ISIS public figures have been killed or captured in operations across Iraq and Syria.
With this in mind, Mr. Orton – who has been monitoring ISIS activity and its leadership – believes the new leader is likely to emerge from the shadows.
He told The Sun Online: “It would be crazy at this stage to try to predict who will be the next leader of IS; the group has a contingent of people we’ve never seen before, and in the completeness of our lives. In the current situation, it makes a lot of sense to be one of the people the team chose.
“If someone is looking for the characteristics that IS will choose based on, we have more ideas: almost certainly a religious or judicial figure, rather than a military man; maybe someone have administrative experience in the provinces; and possibly a senior – the record set with the group dates back more than a decade.”
ISIS as a state has been driven out of Iraq and Syria, leaving the group now in hiding and trying to muster their strength.
However, they have shown strong signs of recovery since 2019.
Mr Orton warned that ISIS appears to be going strong – but al-Qurashi’s death is likely to cause some disruption.
DEAD OR ALIVE
That said, it shouldn’t be overstated: IS now has a very well-developed bureaucracy and the succession should be smooth and quick, he told The Sun Online.
ISIS has seen its senior leadership falter with a series of arrests, air strikes and special forces raids.
Along with al-Baghdadi and al-Quarashi, they also lost figures such as former spokesman Abu Hassan al-Muhajir.
The Saudi national – described as the monarch’s right hand man – was blown up in an air strike in northwestern Syria just 24 hours after his boss was killed in 2019.
Sami Jasim al-Jaburi, al-Baghdadi’s deputy and ISIS banker, was arrested by Iraqi security forces in October 2021.
He was once one of the United States’ most wanted men, with a $5 million bounty on his head – described as a “legacy member” of the terrorist group.
Abdul Nassr Qardash, sometimes dubbed the “Professor” or “Terminator”, was arrested in 2020 after once believed to be the leader of ISIS.
The former general who served Saddam Hussein joined al-Qaeda before defecting to ISIS in 2011.
However, he was raided by Iraqi forces in 2020 – and is arguably the most famous ISIS leader ever captured alive.
Abd al-Nasir, who was once the top lord of IS in Syria, is believed to have been captured, while Moataz Numan al-Jaburi, who oversaw bomb-making for ISIS, was killed in 2020.
And meanwhile Saddam al-Jamal, the infamous ISIS leader who burned a pilot alive in a cage, was captured in May 2018.
Other prominent ISIS leaders who have been captured or killed include Gulmurod Khalimov, known as “The Tajik”, who is believed to have blown up in Syria in 2017.
Abu Waheeb – one of the ISIS warlords who helped lay the foundation for the sect – was killed in an air raid near Rutba in 2016.
That same year, Abu Omar al-Shishani – known as “The Chechen” – was clinically dead and given life support in a bombing attack.
And then Abu Ali al-Anbari, once ISIS’ second-in-command, was killed in a helicopter strike in Syria also in 2016.
ISIS once dominated huge swaths of territory after coming to power amid the chaos in the Middle East between the Syrian Civil War and the aftermath of the Iraq War.
It has drawn other jihadist groups to strike across both Syria and Iraq in a bloody riot – at its peak ruling up to 12 million people.
Al-Baghdadi declared the caliphate in a chilling speech in June 2014 – declaring his terrorist group to rule all Muslims worldwide.
Backed by fighters from around the world – including the UK – ISIS both encourages and coordinates terrorist attacks in the West.
Unsettling beheadings, crucifixions, and murderous execution movies have all become popular due to their misleading interpretations of sharia law for those living under their rule.
However, Iraq and Syria fought back with support from the West and Russia – with a five-year campaign that finally destroyed the group at the Battle of Baghuz in March 2019.
ISIS is now a fragmented group – but is believed to be rebuilding their fallen organization.
Mr Orton told The Sun Online: “The recent prison break in Syria and the indicators from the insurgency in Iraq – particularly the local reports of people in towns fearing coming out against IS and other groups of people in fear of going public. extreme security measures – shows that IS is growing in strength at the center, and with political conditions like those in Syria and Iraq, there’s little reason to think the trendline will be reverse. “
https://www.the-sun.com/news/4606221/isis-hunt-leader-us-raid-jihadi/ The hunt inside to finally wipe out ISIS’s shrinking jihadist network once and for all after leader is killed in US raid