In Statement By New Islamic State (ISIS) Spokesman Abu Omar Al-Muhajir, Group Confirms Killing Of Leader Abu Ibrahim Al-Qurayshi And Spokesman Abu Hamza Al-Qurayshi, Announces Abu Al-Hassan Al-Hashimi Al-Qurayshi As New Leader

March 10, 2022

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On March 10, 2022, Al-Furqan Media Foundation, which specializes in circulating official statements from the leadership of the Islamic State (ISIS), released a 12-minute audio statement announcing the death of ISIS leader Abu Ibrahim Al-Qurayshi and ISIS spokesman Abu Hamza Al-Qurayshi and the appointment of Abu Al-Hassan Al-Hashimi Al-Qurayshi as the new ISIS leader.[1]

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The statement, delivered by the group's new spokesman, identified in the audio as Abu Omar Al-Muhajir, is the first official ISIS statement concerning the death of the group's leader[2] and the first statement mentioning the death of its spokesman.

In the statement, Al-Muhajir praised Al-Qurayshi for his leadership, including the planning of the raid on Ghuwayran prison. He then called on Muslims to hasten to pledge allegiance to the new leader, adding that at the moment, the group will not release his real name or his photo. The spokesman called on ISIS fighters everywhere to remain steadfast, saying that the U.S. is unable to "extinguish the light of Allah" by declaring the end of ISIS every time it kills an ISIS leader.

It is worth noting that on the night of February 3, 2022, several hours after an airborne operation by U.S. forces near Atmah in Syria, north of Idlib on the Turkish border, President Joe Biden issued a statement confirming the death of the ISIS leader, who detonated a suicide vest, killing himself and some members of his family.[3]

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Al-Muhajir starts the statement by praising Allah. He then recites verses from the Quran and announces "to the Muslims of the four winds of the earth and the mujahideen of the Islamic State" the death of ISIS leader "Abu Ibrahim Al-Hashimi Al-Qurayshi and the official spokesman for the Islamic State, the immigrant sheikh Abu Hamza Al-Qurayshi... who were killed... in the past few days." He then recites poetry eulogizing and them both.

Al-Muhajir praises the leadership of Al-Qurayshi, who took over after the killing of the group's last leader, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi.[4] He adds that the "last of [Al-Qurayshi's] victories and the most honorable achievement was freeing a number of captives from the Ghuwayran prison in an epic battle that only the soldiers and leaders of the Islamic State could carry out. A battle in the heartland of the atheists, which demonstrated their [incapability]... and that was the last of his good deeds." Al-Muhajir then declares that Al-Qurayshi "was killed where he loved to be killed, on the battlefield, while fighting Allah's enemies the Crusaders and their [local] assistants."

It worth noting that on January 20, 2022, ISIS fighters broke into the Al-Sina'ah central prison, in the Ghuwayran neighborhood of Al-Hasakah city in northeastern Syria, which is controlled by the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).[5] According to reports, ISIS detonated a car bomb and several oil trucks outside the prison gates and attacked the guards there, while ISIS prisoners inside the building attacked the guards.[6] ISIS's official weekly newspaper, Al-Naba', Issue 323, reported 260 SDF casualties from that attack.[7]

As for slain ISIS spokesman Abu Hamza Al-Qurayshi, Al-Muhajir continues the statement by praising his media speeches and announcements and stating that his communication provoked the enemies while pleasing ISIS operatives. He adds that Al-Qurayshi "was appointed as the successor of Abu Al-Hassan Al-Muhajir" who was killed one day after Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi by a U.S. airstrike on October 28, 2019 in northwest Syria.[8]

Al-Muhajir continues by saying that after Abu Ibrahim Al-Qurayshi's death the ISIS Shura council elected and pledged allegiance to Abu Al-Hassan Al-Hashimi Al-Qurayshi as the new leader and "Caliph of the Muslims," which is "based on the will of Abu Ibrahim Al-Qurayshi," and Abu Al-Hassan has accepted his appointment.

He asks Muslims all over the world not to delay pledging allegiance to the new "caliph as we consider him one of the pioneering and honest people... and we do not know of any other leader who rules by Allah's sharia in what Allah has bestowed upon him, [while] being a mujahid [as well]." Al-Muhajir then states that the real name and photo of the new leader will not be released for the time being, "we would have revealed his [real] name and image, but there will be a right time for that, as we are not able to [at the moment]."

Al-Muhajir then asks ISIS operatives in all the self-proclaimed ISIS "wilayat" (territories) to continue "being patient, steadfast, and fearing of Allah. [And to] be prepared and attentive as the war has gotten more aggressive [while] being led [right now] by a brave new knight and imam [leader]... who prepared angry lions for it [the war]. The infidels, polytheists, and apostates will not rejoice over the killing of our leaders and imams, as our blood will not be spilled and our steel will not be bent."

He then adds: "As for America the protector of the Cross, it [will always be] incapable of extinguishing the light of Allah, and every time it tries so ruthlessly to kill a leader of the Muslims or one of the mujahideen, it announces the end or the deterioration of the Islamic State, may Allah champion it, Allah disgraces it. The matter of seeing our leaders being killed with courage and disregard [for meeting their death] ends up switching from destabilizing the ranks of the Muslims and mujahideen to reinforcing their faith and confidence. This [in itself] is the greatest proof of the truthfulness of our belief and the correctness of [our] path."

Al-Muhajir ends the statement by inciting jihadists to wage more terror attacks, saying: "Champion the weakened Muslims wherever they are, make sure you free your prisoners, as that is the Prophet's orders and the will of Abu Ibrahim, as witnessed in his actions, not his words. We strictly order you to avenge your leaders, brothers, and sisters. Move towards Allah by killing and chopping off the heads of His enemies. Know that victory comes with patience, and with every impediment comes facilitation."

[1] Telegram, March 10, 2022.       

[5] See MEMRI JTTM report ISIS Attacks Central Prison In East Syria, January 21, 2022.

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