ISIS acknowledged the death of leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, named his successor and told Americans to “not rejoice” in his death because the terror group “today stands at the thresholds of Europe and Central Africa, and indeed is expanding and remaining by God’s permission from east to west.”
In audio released by ISIS’ al-Furqan media and a statement printed in the new issue of the weekly newsletter al-Naba, ISIS also confirmed that spokesman Abu al-Hassan al-Muhajir had been killed in an airstrike the day after al-Baghdadi died in a U.S. raid on his Syrian compound.
Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi was named the new leader of ISIS, while Abu Hamza al-Qurayshi was named the new spokesman. Qurayshi indicates the tribe of Muhammad.
The statement memorializes al-Baghdadi, saying he “endured the hardship and tribulation and the enemies’ gaining of power, until God Almighty determined for him to be killed in His path.”
The group said that ISIS’ Shura Council convened “immediately after being sure” of al-Baghdadi’s death and “mutually agreed” to pledge allegiance to “the mujahid, knowledgeable, working, God-fearing” Abu Ibrahim. The statement urged Muslims to rally around the new leader as “he fought against the protector of the Cross — America — and inflicted on it woes upon woes” and is thus “aware of its method of war and realizes its scheming deception.”
Beyond that, any biographical information on the new caliph — including a physical description — is a mystery.
“Do you not understand how you have become after your war on the Islamic State, or do you not consider how you have become the laughingstock of the nations, your fate ruled by an old, clumsy man, who has one opinion in the evening and another in the morning?” the new ISIS spokesman continued. “So do not rejoice a lot and do not be deceived, for there has come to you the one who will make you forget the shock of what you saw.”
The front page of al-Naba, which usually features some sort of battlefield photo, instead bears the image of a curtain emblazoned with the ISIS flag and announced mourning for al-Baghdadi and al-Muhajir. The rest of the issue continued regular updates about the terror group’s activities.