ISIS has confirmed the death of its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi some four days after a Delta Force raid against his compound in northwest Syria.
In an audio recording sent through the Telegram app and obtained by the New York Times, ISIS members were heard mourning the death of Baghdadi. The recording served as one of the first indications of ISIS confirming Baghdadi’s death.
“Do not be happy O America, for the death of Sheikh al-Baghdadi, and do not forget the cups of death at his hands, may God accept him,” one portion of the recording said, according to a translation by Site Intelligence Group, which monitors online. extremist communications.
The newly obtained audio included statements by ISIS members confirming the death of Baghdadi, as well as Abu Hassan al-Muhajir, who was killed in a follow-up strike just one day after the raid that killed Baghdadi. Muhajir, a top ISIS spokesman, was the likely successor to lead the terror group.
The ISIS audio seemed to name Ibrahim al-Hashemi al-Qurayshi as the new leader, and called him “emir of the believers” and “caliph” or leader.
Qurayshi had reportedly been a relatively unknown name in the terror group prior to the New York Times report.
Prior to the ISIS audio, U.S. officials had reportedly confirmed Baghdadi’s death through DNA testing of Baghdadi’s remains before disposing of his body at sea.
Members of Delta Force, with the support of U.S. Apache helicopter gunships and other drones and fighter jets, launched a nighttime raid against Baghdadi’s compound, which saw Baghdadi take his own life and the lives of two of his children with a suicide bomb. Delta Force operators reportedly killed five more ISIS fighters who wore suicide vests and who presented a risk of blowing themselves up and killing others.
Al-Qurayshi surname purports a lineage to the Quraysh tribe. Muhammed, the founding prophet of Islam was a member of this Arab tribe. Such lineage is seen as a requirement to become a Caliph.
The honorific of Caliph also suggests the ISIS terror group still sees itself as a caliphate, despite the losing its territorial holdings in Syria in March.
The ISIS communication also described President Donald Trump a “stupid old man, who goes to sleep with one opinion and wakes up with another.”
In his own announcement of the Baghdadi raid on Sunday morning, Trump said Baghdadi “died like a dog, like a coward.”
“He died after running into a dead-end tunnel, whimpering and crying and screaming all the way,” Trump said.
The President noted Baghdadi had taken three of his children with him and led them to a “certain death” before detonating the suicide bomb that killed them.
In his remarks, Trump said the assaulting U.S. forces had captured key ISIS intelligence and would continue to seek out the terror group’s leadership. Two ISIS fighters were also captured in the raid and will reportedly be questioned to provide further details about the terror group.
“We’re after these leaders. And we have others in sight, very bad ones,” Trump said Sunday.