The Islamic State says its leader was killed by militants in Syria, names successor

Fighters from the Islamic State group parade in a commandeered Iraqi security forces armored vehicle
Fighters from the Islamic State group parade in a commandeered Iraqi security forces vehicle in Mosul, Iraq, in 2014.
(Associated Press)
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The Islamic State group announced on Thursday the death in Syria of its little-known leader, Abu Hussein Husseini Qurayshi, who headed the extremist organization since November, and named his successor.

The group did not say when Qurayshi was killed but added that he died in fighting with an Al Qaeda-linked group. IS spokesman Abu Huthaifa Ansari said that Abu Hafs Hashemi Qurayshi was named as the group’s new leader.

Abu Hussein Husseini Qurayshi is the fourth IS leader to be killed since the group was founded by Iraqi militant Abu Bakr Baghdadi and declared a caliphate in large parts of Syria and Iraq in June 2014 before its defeat years later.


The spokesman, Ansari, said in an audio message that Qurayshi “was martyred” in rebel-held northwestern Syria by members of Syria’s Al Qaeda-linked Hayat Tahrir al-Sham when they tried to detain him in the province of Idlib.

“He fought them until he succumbed to his wounds,” Ansari said of Qurayshi, adding that the Al Qaeda-linked group detained some IS members who were with the late leader, including Abu Omar Muhajir, another spokesman, and that they are still being held.

Hoda Muthana, who ran away from home to join Islamic State in Syria, says she wants to return to the U.S., even if it means serving prison time.

Jan. 9, 2023

In April, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkish intelligence agents had killed Qurayshi in northern Syria — a statement that IS denied.

The Islamic State group broke away from Al Qaeda a decade ago and attracted supporters from around the world. Despite its defeat in Iraq in 2017 and in Syria two years later, IS militants still carry out deadly attacks in both countries and elsewhere.

An Afghan branch of IS claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing on Sunday in Pakistan at a pro-Taliban party’s election rally, in one of the worst attacks in Pakistan in recent years. The death toll from that attack has climbed to 63.

IS founder Baghdadi was killed in a raid by Americans troops in northwestern Syria in October 2019. The group’s leader after that, Abu Ibrahim Hashimi Qurayshi, was also killed in a U.S. raid in February 2022, in northwestern Syria. His successor was killed in southern Syria later that year.


Qurayshi is not the real name of the IS leaders but comes from Quraish, the name of the tribe to which Islam’s Prophet Muhammad belonged. IS claims its leaders hail from this tribe and “Qurayshi” serves as part of their nom de guerre.