ISIS sees an opportunity to strike Europe at this time
On Sunday, the Islamic State organization (ISIS) promised “vengeance” for the assassination of its previous leader, calling on supporters to use the conflict in Ukraine to organize strikes throughout Europe.
An audio message attributed to the group and circulated on the Telegram messaging app said, “We announce, relying on God, a blessed campaign to take revenge” over the death of Abu Ibrahim al-Qurashi, the group’s former spokesman. Abu-Omar al-Muhajjir, the group’s new spokesperson, also urged followers to begin assaults in Europe, using the “available opportunity” of “the crusaders battling each other,” referring to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
According to the White House and US defense sources, the extremist group’s former head died in early February when he detonated a device to evade arrest during a US operation in northwest Syria. On March 10, the organization announced his death, as well as the death of the group’s former spokesperson, and named Abu Hasan al-Hashemi al-Qurashi as the new leader.
The new commander, who is the jihadist group’s third in command since its founding, remains a mystery. The remnants of ISIS in Syria primarily retreated into desert hideouts after losing their final stronghold amid a military attack backed by a US-led coalition in March 2019. They have ambushed Kurdish-led forces and Syrian government troops from such hideouts. Jihadists are also carrying out strikes in Iraq.