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U.S. looking at new Islamic State leader and role in terrorist group

Reuters

The United States is looking into the new leader of the Islamic State to determine his role in the organization and where he came from after a U.S. raid last month killed its former leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, Nathan Sales, the U.S. counterterrorism coordinator, said on Friday.

“Any time there is a leadership transition in the terrorist organization, we want to make sure that we have the latest information that we need to have to confront the threat,” Sales told a briefing.

Islamic State in an audio tape posted online on Thursday, confirmed that its leader al-Baghdadi was killed in a weekend raid by U.S. special forces in northwestern Syria, and vowed revenge against the United States.

The group, also known as ISIS, said a successor to al-Baghdadi identified as Abu Ibrahim al-Hashemi al-Quraishi had been appointed.

Earlier on Friday, Trump tweeted about the new leader. “ISIS has a new leader. We know exactly who he is!” he tweeted, without elaborating further.

Al-Baghdadi had risen from obscurity to lead the ultrahard-line group and declare himself “caliph” of all Muslims, holding sway over huge areas of Iraq and Syria from 2014-2017 before Islamic State’s control was wrested away by U.S.-led coalition forces including Iraqis and Syrian Kurds.

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