The Islamic State has finally confirmed the death of its erstwhile leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and announced Abu Ibrahim Hashemi al-Quraishi as his successor.
Al-Quraishi was named in an audio message released by the ISIL central media arm, al-Furqan Foundation which urged supporters to follow Baghdadi’s directives and threaten western countries.
The recording however offered no information about al-Quraishi’s background.
The New York Times reports that the al-Quraishi appellation at the end of his name indicates that he is considered to have descended from the Quraysh tribe of the Prophet Muhammed, a lineage which IS considers to be a prerequisite for becoming a ruler.
The speaker in the audio also confirmed the death of Abu Hassan al-Muhajir, a close aide of Baghdadi and a spokesman for the group.
Muhajir was killed in a joint US operation with Kurdish forces in Jarablus in northern Syria on Sunday, hours after Baghdadi blew himself up in Syria’s north-western Idlib province.
The 48-year-old Baghdadi fled into a tunnel and killed himself and two of his children last weekend after he was tracked down by United States special forces in northern Syria.
Al-Baghdadi took over the leadeship of ISIL in 2014 when the extremist group took control of huge areas of Iraq and Syria and imposed its rule over the civilian population.