The Islamic State has confirmed the death of its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and named Abu Ibrahim al Hashimi al-Qurayshi as his replacement.
Little is known about al-Hashimi, although his last name (al-Qurayshi) suggests that he, as did Baghdadi, claims a lineage to the Prophet Mohammed, a position that offered legitimacy in some quarters, The Telegraph reported.
The group’s media arm, Amaq, made the announcements in an audio recording released on Thursday.
News of Baghdadi’s successor had been widely anticipated among the ranks of the terror organisation following the weekend raid that traced Baghdadi to a remote corner of northern Syria after a hunt spanning more than half a decade, the Guardian reported.
The recording offers no information about the new leader, whose name was not among those mooted in the days since the US raid. It calls on supporters to follow Baghdadi’s directives and threatens western countries.
“America, don’t you realise that the Islamic State is now at the forefront of Europe and West Africa? It is extended from the East to the West,” it says. “Don’t you see that you have become a laughing stock to the world. Your destiny is controlled by an old fool who goes to sleep with one opinion and wakes up with another. Do not celebrate or get arrogant.”