ISIS leader blew himself up in siege on his hide-out by Syrian rebels

ISIS leader blew himself up after he was surrounded by Free Syrian Army rebels who discovered his hide-out, fighters reveal after terror group lost another top figure

  • The ISIS leader blew himself up after a siege on his hide-out by rebel fighters
  • Abu al-Hassan al-Hashemi al-Quraishi had only been leader of ISIS since March
  • A new ‘veteran’ jihadist has since been selected to lead the Islamist terror group

The leader of ISIS was killed when he blew himself up after becoming encircled by local fighters in a siege, leaving him nowhere to escape, it has emerged.

Abu al-Hassan al-Hashemi al-Quraishi was killed in Syria in mid-October as rebels in the town of Jasem surrounded him and his aides, the local fighters involved in the clash revealed.

He had only been leader and caliph of the Islamist terror group for eight months.

The US military confirmed his death on Wednesday and said the leader had been  killed in an operation carried out by the rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA) in Daraa province in southwestern Syria.

Following the death of the Abu al-Hassan al-Hashemi al-Quraishi in mid-October, ISIS has selected Abu al-Hussein al-Husseini al-Quraishi as its new leader 

The province was brought under the control of the Syrian army following Russian- brokered reconciliation agreements in 2018 that gave control of southern Syria back to Damascus.

Quraishi and his aides had been discovered in a secret hideout in a house, said the sources who included fighters in the Syrian Free Army, relatives of comrades who died in clash, and residents of Jasem.

‘The leader and a companion blew themselves up with suicide belts after our fighters succeeded in storming their hideout,’ said Salem al Horani a resident of Jasem and former fighter who participated in the siege of the three houses where the ISIS cell was discovered.

The FSA had received backing from the West and Gulf states until they withdrew support in 2018, but its fighters remained in the area after the reconciliation deals under which they handed over heavy weapons but were allowed to keep light arms.


ISIS’s previous leader, Abu Ibrahim al-Qurashi (left), was killed in February after taking over from Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (right) 

The previous leader of the Islamist terror group, Abu Ibrahim al-Qurashi, was killed earlier this year in a US raid in Idlib province in northern Syria. He had also blown himself up after being discovered in a siege in early February, according to Washington.

He had led ISIS from 2019 and was an ethnic Turkmen from the Iraqi city of Tal Afar.

His predecessor Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was killed, also in Idlib in a US raid, in October 2019.

Following the death of the Abu al-Hassan al-Hashemi al-Quraishi in mid-October, ISIS has selected Abu al-Hussein al-Husseini al-Quraishi as its new leader, said a spokesman for the group.

The Quraishi name that the new leader and his deceased predecessors share refers to a tribe of the Prophet Mohammed, from whom ISIS leaders must claim descent.

The spokesperson also confirmed the death of their recent leader, saying that Quraishi died while ‘fighting enemies of God’.

A UN report last year estimated that around 10,000 ISIS fighters remained active across Iraq and Syria

No further details were given on the new leader, but the terrorist group’s spokesperson said he was a ‘veteran’ jihadist and called on all groups loyal to ISIS to pledge their allegiance.

Little else is known of the leader who is taking control of the beleaguered terror group whose influence over the Middle East has waned in recent years.

A UN report last year estimated that around 10,000 ISIS fighters remained active across Iraq and Syria.

Islamic State emerged from the chaos of the civil war in neighbouring Iraq and took over vast swathes of Iraq and Syria in 2014. 

Former IS caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared an Islamic caliphate from a mosque in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul that year and proclaimed himself caliph of all Muslims.

Islamic State’s brutal rule, during which it killed and executed thousands of people in the name of its narrow interpretation of Islam, came to an end in Mosul when Iraqi and international forces defeated the group there in 2017.

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