After the death of Al-Baghdadi, setbacks accumulate for the Islamic State organization

Since the death of the leader of the jihadist organization in an American raid on Sunday, the United States has been stepping up operations against alleged members of the IS.

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US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper (left) and Army Chief of Staff, General Mark Milley, at a Pentagon press conference on October 28. CHIP SOMODEVILLA / AFP

Donald Trump was terse, Tuesday morning October 29. " Have just been confirmed that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's replacement number 1 had been eliminated by US troops. He would certainly have taken the lead. Now he's dead too , Wrote the president of the United States on his Twitter account. Without giving more information on the identity of the man or on the circumstances of his death. Was he referring to Abu Hassan al-Muhajir, the spokesman for the Islamic State (IS) organization, as an official on the ABC channel said. Or someone else?

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On Monday, the predominantly Kurdish Democratic Forces (SDF) had announced the death the night before, after a joint intelligence operation with the United States, the jihadist spokesman in the region of Djarabulus, a city under the control of forces Turkey and their Syrian deputies since August 2016. General Mazloum Abdi, commander-in-chief of the SDF, presented this operation as a " extension " of the one in which the founder of the IS died this weekend.

On the night of Monday to Tuesday, a new operation, the third in thirty-six hours, allegedly targeted the IS.

According to Syrian journalist Abdullah Al-Muhamad, who quotes local police sources, Abu Hassan Al-Muhajir was reportedly killed in an air strike targeting a tanker truck in which he had been hiding. The vehicle, coming from the west, reportedly crossed Kurdish checkpoints and then Syrian rebels before being attacked. Among the two men who accompanied him was his right-hand man and media officer for the IS, a native of the region.

Little is known about Abu Hassan Al-Muhajir, who became the organization's spokesperson in 2016 and whose war name "the emigrant" usually refers to non-Iraqis and non-Syrians unless that he did not use it to scramble the tracks. Since the IS had been led by Iraqis since 2006, his name did not appear so far as a possible successor.

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After Al-Baghdadi's death, his death confirms the presence of the organization's top leaders in northwestern Syria and the collapse of IS leaders' ability to to move. On the night of Monday to Tuesday, a new operation, the third in thirty-six hours, allegedly targeted the IS. Also in Jarablus, at least two helicopters, flying at a very low altitude before landing, were filmed by residents. According to the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights, they allegedly "Landed the fighters and taken an Iraqi family of four, formerly known for his affiliation to the IS".


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