Islamic State leader killed in battle

30 November 2022, 22:22 | Updated: 1 December 2022, 00:42

The Islamic State leader has been killed
The Islamic State leader has been killed. Picture: Getty

By Kit Heren

The leader of the so-called Islamic State has been killed in battle, the group has said.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

Abu al-Hassan al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi is the second IS leader to be killed this year, at a time when the group is trying to mount a comeback, with several deadly attacks in Syria and Afghanistan.

The US military said Syrian rebels in the southern province of Daraa killed al-Qurayshi in mid-October.

"Isis remains a threat to the region," the US Central Command said. "CENTCOM and our partners remain focused on the enduring defeat of Isis."

It is unclear why the announcement has been made now.

Members of the Iraqi Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS) cheer as they carry upside-down a black flag of the Islamic State (IS) group
Members of the Iraqi Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS) cheer as they carry upside-down a black flag of the Islamic State (IS) group. Picture: Getty

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 US raid in February in north-west 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 to which Islam's Prophet Mohammed belonged. 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.

Journalist Andrew Drury lambasts Shamima Begum

"He died fighting the enemies of God killing some of them before being killed like a man on the battlefield," al-Muhajer said. Al-Muhajer said Abu al-Hussein al-Husseini al-Qurayshi was named as the group's new leader.

"He is one of the veteran warriors and one of the loyal sons of the Islamic State," al-Muhajer said. Little is also known about Abu al-Hussein al-Husseini al-Qurayshi.

Read more: Shamima Begum 'knew what she was doing', MI5 agent tells court as lawyer claims she was 'child trafficking victim'

Read more: Shamima Begum's mother Asma says her 'world fell apart' when she ran away to join ISIS

Asked in Washington about al-Qurayshi's death, the spokesman for the US National Security Council, John Kirby, said: "We certainly welcome the news of the death of another Isis leader. I don't have any additional operational details to provide at this time."

Al-Qurayshi is the third leader to be killed since founder Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was hunted down by the Americans in a raid in October 2019.