New ISIS leader 'captured by special forces in Iraq'

20 May 2020, 21:35

Abdulnasser al-Qirdash has reportedly been captured in Iraq
Abdulnasser al-Qirdash has reportedly been captured in Iraq. Picture: Al-Sumaria

By Kate Buck

ISIS leader Abdulnasser al-Qirdash has been arrested by special forces in Iraq, it has been reported.

A statement from the Iraqi National Intelligence said:“Today, the terrorist named Abdulnasser al-Qirdash, the candidate to succeed the criminal al-Baghdadi, was arrested. The arrest came after accurate intelligence."

They accompanied their statement with a picture of al-Qirdash in a flannel shirt.

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Is it thought al-Qirdash was the favourite candidate to succeed Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who killed himself with a suicide vest last year during a US-led military raid.

Three of his own children died in the blast.

Following his demise, al-Qirdash is thought to have assumed the day-to-day control of the terror group, which lost the last of its territory in March 2019.

He is known to be a former officer in Saddam Hussein’s army, and was named in August as being the group’s ‘Muslim affairs’ leader.

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Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi died in October
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi died in October. Picture: PA

But despite its defeat, the group is still thought to have around 14,000 to 18,000 members, according to a recent US report.

Al-Baghdadi was buried at sea by US forces after detonating a suicide vest he was wearing during the operation in Idlib in October.

At the time of his death, US President Donald Trump said: “The US has brought the world’s No1 terrorist leader to justice. Abu Bakr al Baghdadi is dead.

“He was the founder and leader of ISIS, the most ruthless terror organisation anywhere in the world.

“Capturing and killing al Baghdadi has been the top priority of my administration.

“US security forces carried out a dangerous and daring night time raid. The US personnel were incredible. No personnel were lost in the operation.

“A large number of Baghdadi’s fighters and companions were killed with him.

“He died running into a dead end tunnel; whimpering crying and screaming all the way.

“11 children were moved out of the house and are uninjured.

“Baghdadi had dragged three of his young children with him. He reached the end of the tunnel as our dogs chased him down. He killed himself along with three of his children.

Tests confirmed a positive ID of al Baghdadi, said Mr Trump.

“He spent his last moments “in utter fear, total panic and dread,” Mr Trump said.

“He was a sick and depraved man, and now he’s gone. Baghdadi was vicious and violent and he died in a vicious and violent way."