The Islamic State (IS) group has confirmed the death of its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and has named Abu Ibrahim al-Hashemi al-Qurashi as the new successor of the Baghdadi. The announcement made by an IS outlet on the messaging service Telegram said Abu Ibrahim al-Hashemi al-Qurashi is the group's new leader and 'caliph'. The development comes months after US special forces has tracked down Baghdadi in north-west Syria. They had launched an attack on his compound. Baghdadi had fled into a tunnel and detonated himself.
The Islamic State has also confirmed the death of spokesman Abu al-Hasan al-Muhajir - who was killed in a joint operation in northern Syria by US and Syrian Kurdish forces hours after the one targeting Baghdadi.
Muhajir, a Saudi national had been considered a potential successor. The new IS spokesman, Abu Hamza al-Qurashi, also called on Muslims to swear allegiance to Abu Ibrahim al-Hashemi, sources said.
Who is Abu Ibrahim al-Hashemi al-Qurashi?
The name of Abu Ibrahim al-Hashemi al-Qurashi is not known to security forces. The Islamic State has not provided any photograph or details about the new leader. The outfit, however, described Qurashi as a 'prominent figure in jihad'. According to a statement, Abu Ibrahim al-Hashemi al-Qurashi was a veteran jihadist fighter who had fought against the US in the past.
With the name "al-Qurashi", the group also made clear that he claims to be descended from the Prophet Muhammad's Quraysh tribe - something generally held by pre-modern Sunni scholars as being a key qualification for becoming a caliph.
How was Baghdadi killed?
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was attacked by the US military, who announced in public, about the killing of the former ISIS chief. Baghdadi was killed during a raid in Syria's Idlib province. In a grainy footage, helicopters were seen firing at gunmen on the ground as they flew towards a compound where Baghdadi was hiding.
US special forces commandos had reportedly blown up holes in the walls of Baghdadi's compounds and had called upon him to surrender. Baghdadi then fled into a tunnel and blew himself up with a suicide vest. His two children were also killed with him inside the tunnel.
The compound was later destroyed in an air strike.