With Baghdadi & deputy down, who’s next to lead ISIS?
The list of the probables to take up ISIS mantle include Iraqi militant Hajji Abdullah and Islamic State Defence Minister Iyad al-Obaidi.

File photo.

New Delhi (NVI): A major news that somewhat got buried in the din of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s killing on October 27 has been the elimination of his heir apparent Abu al-Hassan al-Muhajir earlier the same day which has left observers guessing hard about the next in line to take up the reins of the terrorist outfit.

The list of the probables to don the mantle of ISIS include Iraqi militant Hajji Abdullah and Islamic State Defence Minister Iyad al-Obaidi. However, analysts who track Islamic State, said that the secretive nature of the group’s leadership made it difficult to predict who would take over, media reports said.

One of the deadliest terror groups, shaken by the loss of its self-declared caliphate Baghdadi and his spokesman, who was married to his daughter, in separate raids, is now desperately looking for a successor to sustain its guerrilla insurgency.

The Wall Street Journal quoting an US official said, “Abu al-Hassan al-Muhajir would have been one of the potential successors” to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi”.

The WSJ said that US forces targeted and killed Islamic State’s spokesman in a strike in northeast Syria, hours before the killing of Baghdadi.

“We will see usually, eulogies come out, and then someone will emerge as the successor. They’ll have religious credentials, they will have leadership credentials.…It will be someone from the kind of inner circle, in all likelihood,” the officials said.

According to media reports, the possible successor now left is Iraqi militant Hajji Abdullah, who has US Treasury’s Rewards on his head. A bounty of 5 million USD has been offered for information leading to his capture. Moreover, he is said to have helped drive and justify the abduction, slaughter, and trafficking of the Yazidi religious minority in northern Iraq.

Another name as successor is Iyad al-Obaidi, Islamic State’s Defense Minister and a veteran of late Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein’s Baath Party, media reports said.

Baghdadi was killed in a raid by United States special forces in Syria on October 27. He was under constant United States surveillance for the last couple of weeks.

–nad/rb