IS' new spokesman vows global attacks following recent defeats

IS' new spokesman vows global attacks following recent defeats
A new media spokesperson for the Islamic State group - following the death of Abu Mohammed al-Adnani - has been identified and vowed to attack countries fighting the militant group.
3 min read
05 December, 2016
The Islamic State group has suffered a string of defeats in recent months [Hindustan Times]

The Islamic State group has revealed its new spokesperson following August's killing of influential propagandist Abu Mohommed al-Adnani with the release of a new audio message on Monday.

The new spokesperson was identified on IS-linked al-Furqan media outlet as Abu al-Hassan al-Muhajer.

In a 24-minute audio speech titled "For you will remember what I tell you", Muhajer claimed that the US, Russia, Europe and Iran were all seeking the "destruction of Muslims", and vowed to respond.

"We will attack them in their own countries," he said.

"Attack them inside their houses, markets, roads, and clubs and burn the land under their feet," he urged IS fighters.

The new spokesperson also urged IS fighters to attack Turkey's military, as well as Turkish economic & media targets, and the country's embassies around the world.

Muhajer's predecessor

IS had said in August that Muhajer's predecessor Abu Mohammed al-Adnani was killed while overseeing military operations in northern Syria.

The IS-run Amaq news agency said at the time that Adnani was "martyred while surveying the operations to repel the military campaigns in Aleppo", without providing further details.

Adnani - who served as the voice of IS over the past few years - was also a senior commander and one of 43 original founders of the terrorist group.

He had released numerous, lengthy audio sermons online in which he urged followers to carry out attacks.

Earlier this year, he called for massive attacks during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

He was also believed to be the head of the IS group's external operations, and is possibly responsible for recent terror attacks in France, Turkey and elsewhere.

Adnani was reportedly captured in 2005 and imprisoned at a facility run by the US forces, but was freed in 2010.

His death came less than six months after two other top IS officials - finance minister Haji Iman and third in command Abu Omar al-Shishani - were killed.

IS setbacks

The Islamic State group seized swathes of territory in three countries since 2014, but suffered a string of defeats in recent months.

In Libya - touted as a possible IS stronghold if its Syrianand Iraqi territories fell - loyalist forces said on Monday they had seized full control of Sirte, which the group had conquered in 2015.

In Iraq, pro-government forces say they have recaptured 40 percent of the eastern half of Mosul, where the Iraqi army and its allies launched an offensive on 17 October to oust IS from its last Iraqi stronghold.

The group has also lost strongholds in Iraq's Fallujah and Ramadi, in the western Anbar province.

In Syria's northern Aleppo province, Turkish troops and allied Syrian rebels drove IS out of the border town of Jarabulus in August.

Earlier the same month, a coalition of Arab and Kurdish fighters backed by US airstrikes recaptured the town of Manbij, which IS had used as a hub for moving jihadis to and from Europe.

The coalition also began in November an operation to recapture Raqqa, IS' de facto Syrian capital.