Suspected Islamic State chief Qurayshi killed in Syria, Turkey sa

Turkish forces have killed the suspected leader of the Islamic State (IS) group in Syria, Turkey’s President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has announced.

Abu Hussein al-Qurayshi is said to have taken over the group after his predecessor was killed last autumn.

Mr Erdogan told broadcaster, TRT Turk, the IS leader was “neutralised” in a Turkish MIT intelligence agency operation on Saturday.

IS has so far made no comment on the reported operation.

The BBC has been unable to independently verify President Erdogan’s claim.

The MIT intelligence agency had been following Qurayshi for a “long time”, Mr Erdogan said.

“We will continue our struggle with terrorist organisations without any discrimination,” he added, providing no further details.

Syrian sources quoted by Reuters news agency said the operation took place in the northern town of Jandaris, close to the Turkish border.

He took over the group after previous leader, Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi, set off a blast killing himself and his family as US Special Forces rounded on his hideout after a gunfight in February 2022.

That operation “removed a major terrorist threat to the world”, US President, Joe Biden, said at the time.

IS once held 88,000sq km (34,000sq miles) of territory stretching from north-eastern Syria across northern Iraq and imposed its brutal rule on almost eight million people.

The group was driven from its last piece of territory in 2019, but the UN warned in July that it remained a persistent threat.

It is estimated to have between 6,000 and 10,000 fighters in Syria and Iraq, who are based mostly in rural areas and continue to carry out hit-and-run attacks, ambushes and roadside bombings.

IS regional affiliates also pose threats in other conflict zones across the world. The UN said the most vigorous and well-established networks were based in Afghanistan, Somalia and the Lake Chad basin. -BBC

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