Daesh terror group members "pledged allegiance" to Abu Hasan al Hashemi al Qurashi, the group's spokesperson said in an audio recording.

Abu Hasan al Qurashi rises to the helm at a time when the terror group has been weakened by US-backed operations in Iraq and Syria.
Abu Hasan al Qurashi rises to the helm at a time when the terror group has been weakened by US-backed operations in Iraq and Syria. (Reuters Archive)

Daesh has confirmed the death of its leader Abu Ibrahim al Qurashi in a statement and named Abu Hasan al Hashemi al Qurashi as his replacement.

Thursday's announcement came more than a month after the terror group's chief died during a US raid that saw troops flown by helicopter into northwest Syria.

Daesh militants have "pledged allegiance" to Abu Hasan al Hashemi al Qurashi, the group's spokesperson said in an audio recording released on its social media channels.

The recording confirmed the death of the former Daesh chief along with the group's ex-spokesperson.

Abu Ibrahim al Qurashi and the official Daesh spokesperson Abu Hamza al Qurashi "were killed in recent days", said the new spokesperson, identified as Abu Omar al Muhajjir.

Little is known about the new leader, who will serve as the group's third chief since its inception.

READ MORE: ‘Canary Caliph’: Who was the head of Daesh killed by the US?

On the back foot

According to the Daesh audio statement, Abu Hasan al Qurashi was endorsed by Abu Ibrahim al Qurashi before his death. The recording did not offer further details.

The White House and US defence officials have said Abu Ibrahim al Qurashi died when he detonated a bomb to avoid capture.

His demise, on February 3 in the town of Atme, was the biggest setback to the terror group since his own predecessor, the better-known Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, was killed in a US commando raid in the same Syrian region of Idlib in 2019.

Abu Hasan al Qurashi rises to the helm at a time when the group has been weakened by US-backed operations in Iraq and Syria aiming to thwart a resurgence.

Daesh's self-declared caliphate, established in 2014, once stretched across vast parts of Syria and Iraq and administered millions of inhabitants.

A long and deadly military fightback led by US and Iraqi forces with backing from other allies eventually defeated the group in March 2019.

The remnants of Daesh in Syria mostly went to desert hideouts from which they continue to harass US-led forces and Syrian regime troops. They also continue to mount attacks in Iraq from hideouts there.

A UN report last year estimated that around 10,000 Daesh terrorists remained active across the two countries.

READ MORE: US: More civilians may have died in Syria raid that killed top Daesh leader

Source: AFP