ISIS has confirmed the death of its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi after the self-appointed ‘caliph’ died during a U.S. special forces raid in Syria last weekend.
In an audio statement today the terror group named Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi as its new leader.
The jihadists also confirmed the death of their former spokesman Abu Hassan al-Muhajir in a separate operation.
The message today is the first official statement from ISIS since Donald Trump announced Baghdadi’s death five days ago.
‘We mourn you… commander of the faithful’, said new ISIS spokesman Abu Hamza al-Quraishi.
However, the extremists warned America not to ‘rejoice’ in the death of two senior ISIS figures.
‘America, don’t you realize that the Islamic State is now at the forefront of Europe and West Africa? It is extended from the East to the West,’ the statement said.
Warning that ISIS was not limited to the Middle East, the terrorists vowed that their extremist ‘mission’ would continue.
ISIS fanatics were also urged to heed Baghdadi’s words in his final recorded message in September, when he urged his followers to break imprisoned ISIS members out of prison.
More than 10,000 ISIS prisoners are being held in Syria while another camp is home to some 70,000 people, mainly relatives of the extremists.
Terror expert Rita Katz said the message showed that ISIS’s online operations were ‘alive and well’ despite Baghdadi’s death.
‘We should expect to see a campaign for this message spanning various platforms, accompanied by pledges from across the world,’she said today.
The appointment of al-Qurayshi as the new ISIS leader contradicts rumours that Baghdadi’s former security henchman Abdullah Qardash was set to take the top job.
Qardash, a former officer in Saddam Hussein’s army, had met Baghdadi in a U.S. prison in Iraq after the American invasion in 2003.