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The New Arab

Egypt's Islamic State affiliate swears allegiance to new leader

The Islamic State militant group announced a new leader after Baghdadi's killing [SOPA Images]

Date of publication: 3 November, 2019

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IS’ Sinai Province branch, which has been involved in a violent insurgency against the Egyptian state, announced its allegiance to Abu Ibrahim al-Hashemi al-Quraishi.
Egypt’s Islamic State affiliate pledged allegiance to the militant group’s new leader, according to a statement published using Telegram on Saturday, just days after the killing of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi by US forces.

IS’ Sinai Province branch, which has been involved in a violent insurgency against the Egyptian state for several years, announced its allegiance to Abu Ibrahim al-Hashemi al-Quraishi with an image showing some two dozen militants.

Egypt has for years been fighting an insurgency in North Sinai that escalated after the military's 2013 ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi following mass protests.

The military has launched a nationwide offensive since February 2018 against Islamist militants focusing on North Sinai where a local affiliate of the Islamic State group is based.

Some 750 suspected jihadists and around 60 soldiers have since been killed, according to official figures.

Killing of Baghdadi

Saturday's announcement followed the release of an audio message also published by the militant group, in which is confirmed the name of the new leader.

The speaker in the audio also confirmed the death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as well as Abu Hassan al-Muhajir, a close aide of al-Baghdadi and a spokesman for the group.

Al-Muhajir was killed in a joint US operation with Kurdish forces in Jarablus, in northern Syria on Sunday, hours after al-Baghdadi blew himself up during a US raid in Syria's northwestern Idlib province.

 

"We mourn you... commander of the faithful," an audio statement read by Abu Hamza al-Quraishi, presented as the jihadist group's spokesman, said.

Quraishi also urged followers to pledge allegiance to the new Caliph and addressed the Americans saying: "Don't rejoice."

The operation on Baghdadi by US special forces in Syria took place Saturday, culminating in the death of the fugitive leader who at his peak headed an organisation that attempted to set up a hardline Islamic state across a huge area of Iraq and Syria.

Read more: Syria Weekly: IS poses new threat after Baghdadi death

The Pentagon released video and photos on Wednesday of the US special forces raid that resulted in Baghdadi's death.

Among the images released by the Defense Department was grainy black-and-white footage of US troops approaching on foot the high-walled compound in northwestern Syria where Baghdadi was holed up.

Before and after pictures of the isolated compound were also released.

The compound was razed by US munitions after the raid, leaving it looking like "a parking lot with large potholes," said Marine Corps General Kenneth McKenzie, commander of US Central Command.

McKenzie said that despite Baghdadi's death, IS remains "dangerous."

"We're under no illusions that it will go away just because we killed Baghdadi," he said. "It will remain."

Read more: Baghdadi may be dead, but the turmoil he thrived in lives on

The body of the Islamic State group leader was disposed of at sea by the US military after he killed himself during the raid, Pentagon sources said Monday.

US forces killed a "large number" of IS militants during the raid which culminated in cornering Baghdadi in a tunnel, where he set off a suicide vest.

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