US President Donald Trump said on Friday that the United States knows who the new leader of the Islamic State (ISIS) group is.
“ISIS has a new leader. We know exactly who he is!” he tweeted, without providing further details.
The jihadist group on Thursday named the replacement for Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who was eliminated during an American commando raid on his compound in northern Syria over the weekend.
In a recording, published on the group's media wing al-Furqan, ISIS announced its new leader as Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurashi.
Thursday's message was voiced by ISIS' new spokesman Abu Hamza al-Qarshi. He replaces former spokesman Abu Hasan al-Muhajir, who was killed in a separate operation by US forces near Jarablus in northern Syria.
"America, do not be happy with the killing of Sheikh al-Baghdadi," the new spokesman said in the recording. "Do you not realize that the State today is not only on the doorstep of Europe and in the center of Africa, it is staying and expanding from the east to the west."
Baghdadi’s death followed years of conflicting reports about his fate. A year ago, it was reported that he was still alive, but that injury and poor health had forced him to relinquish control of the terror group.
In 2017, Russia claimed that the ISIS leader might have been among a group of ISIS members who were killed in a Russian air strike south of Raqqa, the group’s former de facto capital in Syria.
US officials have remained skeptical over reports of Baghdadi’s death. Former US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said in July of 2017 he assumes that Baghdadi is still alive.
(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)