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Former ISIS leader Abu Ibrahim al Hashimi al Qurayshi was killed in a US raid in February. In a recent speech, ISIS called on its jihadists to avenge his death
ISIS has declared a new “global offensive” that aims to capitalize on the west’s “opportunity” distracted by the ongoing war in Ukraine.
The terrorist group also told its supporters to retaliate for the death of its leader, who was killed in a raid by US special forces in Syria earlier this year, and to carry out attacks on Europe and Israel as “the crusaders interact with each other.” to fight’.
Islamic State’s new spokesman Abu-Omar al-Muhajir said Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has “preoccupied” non-Muslim countries and provides an opportunity to strike.
In an online speech delivered during the holy month of Ramadan, al-Muhajir urged IS jihadists to retaliate for the assassination of Abu Ibrahim al Hashimi al Qurayshi – aka Hajji Abdullah – in February.
Al-Qurayshi, who led ISIS as of 2019, himself replaced ISIS supremo Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who was killed in an earlier US raid in October of that year.
“We are announcing, trusting in God, a blessed campaign for revenge,” the spokesman said in an audio message from The Times. ‘Fight them all and Allah will answer and punish them at your hands.’
He told his followers that “the opportunity is right” to strike, and called on them to arm themselves and launch attacks against Western countries.
The news came amid mounting tensions in Israel, where recent terrorist attacks have killed 14 people. In response, Israel has launched near-daily arrest raids and other military operations in the occupied West Bank, which have also resulted in deaths.
Two of the recent attackers came from and around Jenin, which has long been a bastion of armed struggle against Israeli rule.
The latest tensions come during the rare confluence of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and the week-long Jewish holiday of Passover.
Christians also celebrate their holy week prior to Easter. For the first time since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, tens of thousands of visitors have flocked to Jerusalem’s Old City – home to important holy sites for all three religions.
In his message, al-Muhajir said Jerusalem can only be taken by an Islamic State ‘caliphate’, The Times reported. A caliphate – or a politico-religious state uniting the Muslim world – has long been an ambition of ISIS.
Islamic State’s new spokesman Abu-Omar al-Muhajir said Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has “preoccupied” non-Muslim countries and provides an opportunity to strike. Pictured: Tanks of pro-Russian troops drive along a road during the Ukraine-Russia conflict near the southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine, April 17, 2022
Founded in 2014, ISIS’s self-proclaimed Caliphate once stretched across large swaths of Syria and Iraq and governed millions of residents.
A long and deadly military battle led by Kurdish-Syrian and Iraqi forces with support from the United States and other powers finally defeated the jihadist proto-state in March 2019.
The remnants of ISIS in Syria mostly went to their desert hideouts from where they continue to harass Kurdish-led and Syrian government forces.
A UN report last year estimated that about 10,000 IS fighters remained active in Iraq and Syria.
The death of Abu Ibrahim al-Qurayshi in February came two weeks after ISIS launched an attack on a prison in northeastern Syria housing fellow jihadists. The attempted escape from the sprawling Ghwayran complex in the northeastern city of Hasakeh caused a week of clashes within and around the facility, killing hundreds.
But hundreds of IS detainees, including senior leaders, are believed to have escaped, with some crossing into neighboring Turkey or Turkish-occupied territory in northern Syria, according to the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor.
ISIS also called on its fighters to carry out attacks on Israel, which has seen a flare-up of violence and terrorist attacks in recent weeks. Pictured: Israeli soldiers work near the site of a deadly shooting attack near a bar in Tel Aviv, Israel, April 7, 2022
ISIS has since announced its new leader – known as Abu Hasan al-Hashimi al-Qurashi. Little is known about him, but he is said to have been chosen by his predecessor before he was killed in the US special forces raid.
After a period of deadly activity that saw terrorist attacks perpetrated in several major European cities, ISIS has been less formidable in recent years — especially since the group was largely defeated in Syria.
Some attacks – such as the stabbing of British MP David Amess last October – have been carried out, but large-scale atrocities are rarer.
Olivier Guitta, managing director of GlobalStrat, an international security risk consultancy, said by the time ISIS feels it needs to restart its attacks to regain its credibility.
“The question is whether Isis has the logistical capacity to carry out a spectacular attack in Europe such as in Paris 2015 or 2016 in Brussels,” he told the newspaper.
Experts now think ISIS will try to exploit a period of instability in the West – caused by the implosion of relations between Europe and Russia (following Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine) and increasing violence in Israel – to carry out attacks .
Pictured: People check a destroyed house after a US military operation in the Syrian village of Atmeh, in Syria’s Idlib province, Feb. 3, 2022. US special forces carried out what the Pentagon said was a successful, large-scale counterterrorism strike, killing the leader of ISIS
On Monday, Palestinian militants fired a rocket at southern Israel for the first time in months, in another escalation after clashes in a sensitive holy site in Jerusalem, a series of deadly attacks in Israel and military raids on the West Bank.
Israel said it intercepted the missile and there were no immediate reports of casualties or damage. Israel holds the militant Hamas rulers of Gaza responsible for all such projectiles and usually carries out air strikes in their wake. It was the first rocket attack since New Year’s Eve.
On Tuesday, Israeli fighter jets carried out a series of airstrikes in the south of the Gaza Strip targeting an “arms factory” for Hamas, the Israeli army said. There were no reports of injuries.
Hours earlier, the leader of the militant group Islamic Jihad, which has an arsenal of missiles, had issued a brief, cryptic warning, condemning Israel’s “violations” in Jerusalem.