IS Names Baghdadi Successor, Threatens US: Statement

US Al Baghdadi raid

IS Names Baghdadi Successor, Threatens US: Statement

The "Islamic State" (IS) group on Thursday named a new leader after it confirmed the death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi by USA forces in northwestern Syria days earlier.

Six IS people were killed in the raid, including al-Baghdadi and two children (not three as stated earlier), said General Kenneth McKenzie, commander of the USA central command, at the release Wednesday of the images and more granular details of the raid than shared earlier by President Donald Trump and other military leaders.

US Central Command Commander General Kenneth McKenzie gave a more detailed account of the raid on Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's compound as the US released the first footage and photos from the operation.

The president has irked his critics among the left by tweeting a photoshop of the military dog that cornered al-Baghdadi and forced him to detonate his suicide vest.

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"The message was recorded by the group's new spokesman Abu Hamza al-Qarshi". Al-Qurayshi appeared to be largely unknown, at least outside the ranks of the organisation.

Gen. Mark Milley told reporters Monday that the animal "performed a tremendous service" in tracking down Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in a tunnel beneath his compound.

The new spokesman also sent a warning to the US saying ISIS is still expanding worldwide, and said the group will seek revenge.

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"America, don't you realize that the Islamic State is now at the forefront of Europe and West Africa?" the group - actually running on fumes for some time, per most intelligence reports - taunted in its message, according to The Sun. It followed days of speculation from followers after al-Baghdadi blew himself up during a U.S. raid on his hideout.

The general and other senior Pentagon officials with close knowledge of the events would not confirm Trump's description of al-Baghdadi's final moments; the president insists that the target died "whimpering and crying and screaming all the way".

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He said Baghdadi's identity was established via DNA analysis of a sample taken during his time at a US prison in Iraq.

Baghdadi was declared leader of the extremist group in 2014 when IS took control of large parts of Iraq and Syria, imposing its rule over the civilian population.

U.S. military leaders have cautioned against writing off the outfit, which has suffered severe reverses in recent years including the loss of its so-called "caliphate" made of areas captured from Syria and Iraq.

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Fighters from the newly-formed IS group that year swept through much of the Sunni heartland in Iraq and Syria to declare a "caliphate" that further expanded to reach roughly the size of Great Britain.

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