New Islamic State (ISIS) Spokesman Announces New Caliph Is Abu Hafs Al-Hashimi Al-Qurashi, Accuses Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS) Of Killing Caliph Predecessor; Warns: Allah's Punishments – Including COVID, War In Ukraine – Will Continue To Weaken America

August 3, 2023

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On August 3, 2023, Al-Furqan, the media arm of the Islamic State's (ISIS) Central Command released an audio message by the group's new Spokesman, Abu Hodhayfa Al-Ansari, who announced the death of the group's fourth Caliph, Abu Al-Husayn Al-Husayni Al-Qurashi in a confrontation with Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS) in Idlib.

Al-Ansari further announced that his own predecessor, ISIS spokesman Abu 'Umar Al-Muhajir, was captured by HTS.[1]

The 13-minute audio message further announced that Abu Hafs Al-Hashimi Al-Qurashi is now the group's fifth Caliph.

This the first message delivered by the new spokesman. The last audio message released by ISIS official media was released on November 30, 2022, and was delivered by spokesman Abu 'Umar Al-Muhajir, in which he announced that Abu Al-Husayn Al-Husayni Al-Qurashi will replace the group's third Caliph, Abu Al-Hasan Al-Hashemi Al-Qurashi, who was killed in a "confrontation with the enemies of Allah," providing no further details. [2]

A press release by U.S. CENCTOM said the third Caliph was killed in a U.S. operation conducted by the Free Syrian Army in Dar'a province.[3]

New Spokesman Announces Death Of ISIS's Fourth Caliph

The new spokesman began his speech by praising Allah and his Prophet, citing Quranic verses and Salafi scholars, and highlighting the heavenly rewards for martyrs who are killed defending Allah's religion, Islam.

He said that in the pursuit of this path of jihad, many of the Caliphate's honorable soldiers and leaders have met martyrdom, and that among them was "Mujahid Sheikh Abu Al-Husayn Al-Husayni Al-Qurashi, may Allah accept him as a martyr and upraise his status in the hereafter."

Eulogizing the slain leader, he said: "We extend our condolences to the ummah of the Hanafi sect and the soldiers of Islamic State in the killing of the Emir of the Believers, Abu Al-Husayn Al-Husayni Al-Qurashi, who remained steadfast and sacrificed his soul for his Lord."

Praising the killed Caliph, the new spokesman highlighted his leadership during a critical and difficult time, saying he never wavered and excelled as a leader.

'HTS Killed Fourth Caliph, Not Turkey'

Discussing the circumstances of the fourth Caliph's death, the spokesman said: "We are disclosing the details in order to expose the chapters of falsehood [of the] Turkish play, which were circulated in the media."

Commenting on Turkish media reports published in April this year, which said the fourth ISIS Caliph was killed in Jandres, Syria during a Turkish intelligence operation, the spokesman stressed that the Turkish claim was a lie.

The truth, he said, is that the Caliph's was killed "in a direct confrontation with the apostate, traitor: Hay'at [Tahrir Al-Sham, HTS], the proxy of Turkish intelligence in the countryside of Idlib."

He went on to add that HTS tried to capture the Caliph alive, while he was immersed in his duties: "He [the Caliph] then clashed with them using his weapon, until he died due to his injuries," said the spokesman.

The spokesman went on to add that "the apostate Hay'at [HTS] handed over Sheikh Abu Al-Husayn, may Allah accept him, as an offering, to show their loyalty to the Turkish government, and to grant its tyrant an achievement for his electoral campaign."

It is unclear if the spokesman meant that HTS handed over the body of the slain leader to Turkish authorities, or if he meant that killing him was an act of service to help the Turkish President in his electoral campaign.


'HTS Captured ISIS's Former Spokesman Alive'

Further, the new spokesman claimed that HTS, which he said are "spies" working for Turkish intelligence, also managed to pursue his predecessor spokesman, Abu Umar Al-Muhajir, and some ISIS fighters who were near the Caliph's location, adding that Al-Muhajir was captured as a prisoner.

'HTS Blackmailed Women For Info'

Moreover, he claimed that HTS captured women and blackmailed them to reveal classified information: "All of this was [not] enough, so they went on to capture women whom they blackmailed to obtain some files and secrets."

These actions by HTS, he claimed, were part of the group's attempt to prove their "devotion to combating the monotheists [and] serving the interests of the taghut [tyrant] Erdogan."

Further, he argued that the operation conducted against the Caliph and his spokesman, carried out by HTS in service of Erdogan, was intended to ensure the Turkish President's win in the May 2023 elections.

Muslims refused to believe the reports by Turkish state-run media, he continued, saying they awaited a true account of events from ISIS's official media arm, Al-Furqan.

Praising all the group's slain leaders, the spokesman reiterated that ISIS's soldiers and commanders are determined to follow the same path as the four slain Caliphs, their jihad and martyrdom, until victory is attained.

Announcing ISIS Fifth Caliph

Announcing a successor of the group's leadership, the spokesman announced that Abu Hafs Al-Hashimi Al-Qurashi is the new Caliph, chosen by ISIS's Shura council immediately after members learned about the death of his predecessor. 

"He accepted the pledge, and raised the flag to start the march immediately, overseeing his duties," he said of the new leader.

Calling On Muslims, Fighters To Pledge Allegiance

Reminding Muslim of their Islamic duty to follow an imam, the spokesman asked that Muslims, supporters, and fighters pledge allegiance to the new caliph.

Describing the new leader, he said he is a "kind imam," with extensive experience in enduring hardship, who is  resourceful in a crisis, and who fought bravely against the Crusaders. Therefore, he added, Muslims should "listen to him and obey him."

"Oh Soldiers of the Caliphate in all provinces, rush to pledge allegiance [to the Caliph]" he said, further urging the group's fighters not to despair, and to continue to show patience and commitment to the blessed path of jihad.

Message To ISIS Prisoners, HTS

Addressing imprisoned ISIS members, women and men, the spokesman said that their suffering is part of jihad, stressing that ISIS has not forgotten them, and will exert effort and money to free them.

He then warned HTS that ISIS and its mujahideen will avenge its leadership, and will make sure that HTS will pay a heavy price for its acts.

Message To America

Concluding, the spokesman addressed "America, the Crusader," saying that Allah is punishing it for its war against ISIS and Islam, arguing that the "catastrophes" it is currently facing, including the coronavirus and its impact on the economy, as well as the war in Ukraine, are all divine punishments that complement ISIS's jihad against the U.S..

He then cited U.S. military officials as warning that America is running out of ammunition to provide Ukraine, saying this represents an acknowledgement of U.S. decline and evidence of Allah's punishment of the Americans.

Citing Quranic verses that promise victory to Islam, the spokesman added that ISIS is looking forward to the continued decline of the U.S., and to its further defeats by Allah and the mujahedeen.


[1] Telegram, August 3, 2023.

[3], Nov. 30, 2022




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