Erdoğan Claims Turkish Operation Killed Global ISIS Chief

(New York, N.Y.) – This week, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced the death of ISIS’s leader, Abu al-Hussain al-Hussaini al-Qurashi, during an operation carried out by Turkey’s National Intelligence Agency (MIT) in Syria. The U.S., however, has been unable to corroborate the operation detailed by Erdoğan who is seeking re-election on May 14.

To read the Counter Extremism Project (CEP)’s profile of Abu al-Hussain al-Hussaini al-Qurashi, please click here.

Personal details about Abu al-Hussain have remained elusive, besides the fact that he joined ISIS in 2013 and quickly rose through the ranks of the terrorist organization. In November 2022, Abu al-Hussain succeeded Abu Hasan al-Hashimi al-Qurashi as caliph following confirmation of the latter’s death in Syria.

According to Turkey’s state-run Andalou Agency, MIT agents discovered Abu al-Hussain’s hideaway—a secluded, blast damaged building in Syria’s Afrin province—in late April 2023 before forcing entry. Abu al-Hussain then detonated his suicide vest to avoid capture. ISIS has yet to confirm the death of Abu al-Hussain or details of a new successor.

To read the CEP resource Turkey: Extremism and Terrorism, please click here.

Islamist terror groups, including ISIS, have consolidated in recent years on Turkey’s borders with Syria and Iraq. Large numbers of foreign fighters have also crossed through Turkey seeking to join these groups. Despite tightened security over the years, Turkey continues to grapple with the movement of ISIS-linked individuals and the remnants of ISIS’s financing and smuggling rings throughout its borders.

Meanwhile, ISIS still maintains a strong influence in Iraq, and has declared de-facto ‘provinces’ in Egypt, Libya, Algeria, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the North Caucasus. ISIS has also staged attacks in Turkey, Lebanon, France, Belgium, Iraq, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, Tunisia, and Kuwait.

To read the CEP resource ISIS, please click here.

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Fact:

On February 26, 2015, a Boko Haram suicide bomber detonated his explosives near a market in Biu, Nigeria, killing 19 people and injuring 20 others. A second attempted-suicide bomber was caught and beaten by a crowd before he was able to carry out his attack.

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