Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 9 July 2020

Iraq announces arrest of possible successor to ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi

Agents with the intelligence service arrested Abdul Nasser Qardash

A portrait of Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi, the former leader of ISIS. EPA
A portrait of Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi, the former leader of ISIS. EPA

Iraq's National Intelligence Service late on Wednesday announced it had arrested a possible successor to ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi.

Agents with the service arrested Abdul Nasser Qardash, a security source told the Iraqi News Agency.

He said Qardash led ISIS's last major battle in Baghouz, Syria, which began in February 2019.

No details have been provided on the circumstances of the arrest.

Qardash is reported to be an Iraqi of Turkmen origin from the Tal Afar region near the northern Iraqi city of Mosul.

Qardash, like Al Baghdadi, had been detained in Iraq by US forces that toppled Saddam Hussein in 2003.

He had served as a religious commissar for Al Qaeda before joining ISIS and welcomed Al Baghdadi in Mosul, when the city fell to the group in 2014.

Al Baghdadi died in October 2019 in Idlib, Syria, after detonating a suicide vest when he fled into a tunnel as US special forces troops closed in, the US government said.

He oversaw ISIS’s takeover of large areas in Iraq and Syria, ultimately announcing the establishment of a "caliphate" in Mosul on July 4.

During Al Baghdadi's tenure, the terrorist group carried out executions of civilians and enslaved religious minorities.

Updated: May 21, 2020 10:43 AM

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