The jihadist organization Islamic State (EI) announced on Thursday August 3 the death of its leader, Abu Al-Hussein Al-Husseini Al-Qourachi, killed in clashes with the jihadist formation Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS), in the northwest Syria. He has been killed “in a direct confrontation (…) in one of the localities of the province of Idlib » with HTS, a former local branch of Al-Qaeda, said the new IS spokesman, in a voice recording published on the group’s Telegram channels.
HTS, a jihadist formation hostile to IS, was trying to capture Abu Al-Hussein Al-Husseini Al-Qurachi, said the spokesman, who did not specify the exact place of his death or the date of his death. this. At the end of April, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that “the presumed leader [de l’EI]code name Abu Al-Hussein Al-Qurachi »had been “neutralized” during an operation of the Turkish intelligence services in Syria.
According to the Turkish news agency Anadolu, the man had been killed in the province of Afrin, neighboring the province of Idlib and under the control of Turkish forces and Syrian factions favorable to Ankara. Reclusive in a house with a “underground bunker”the jihadist had triggered his explosive belt, according to the state agency.
New leader, former spokesman removed
But the new spokesman for the jihadist organization accused HTS – which IS considers its main enemy – of working for Ankara and of having killed Abu Al-Hussein Al-Husseini Al-Qurachi. According to him, HTS fighters handed over his remains to the Turkish government. He also accused the group of abducting the former IS spokesman, without giving further details of the abduction. The new IS leader is now called Abu Hafs Al-Hashemi Al-Qurachi, the spokesman said.
About half of Idlib province, as well as parts of neighboring provinces are controlled by HTS, a formation considered a terrorist organization by Washington, Damascus and the major powers. HTS, led by Abu Mohammad Al-Jolani, had no comment.
On November 30, 2022, IS confirmed the death of its previous leader, killed in October in Deraa province (south) during clashes with local fighters. Nine months earlier, in February, his predecessor had been killed in the province of Idlib, in an operation by American special forces. And in October 2019, Washington announced the death of the first leader of IS, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, during an American operation carried out in Idlib.
The IS had seized entire territories in 2014 in both countries to exercise its regime of terror there, before being defeated in 2017, in Iraq, and in 2019, in Syria, under the blow of successive offensives carried out by the Washington-led anti-ISIS coalition. But IS cells, also present in several Asian and African countries, continue to launch sporadic attacks in Iraq and Syria. Since the end of 2022, IS has stepped up deadly attacks in the vast Syrian desert.