19:58 GMT18 February 2020
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The Daesh* terrorist group is now headed by one of its founding members, Amir Mohammed Abdul Rahman al-Mawli al-Salbi, The Guardian reports citing intelligence officials.

    According to the newspaper, Daesh announced that Salbi would become its new leader in October 2019, right after Washington announced that the previous Daesh leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, had been killed in Syria during a special operation by US troops. However, only Salbi’s "nom de guerre" was released at that time - Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Quraishi, which made it difficult to recognize the individual in question.

    The Guardian said on Monday that the new Daesh leader is also known by the names of Haji Abdullah and possibly Abdullah Qardash.

    The United States put a $5 million bounty on Salbi’s head last year after he was identified as a potential replacement for Baghdadi in August, according to the newspaper.

    Salbi is believed to have led the genocide against Yazidis in Iraq. According to The Guardian, the new Daesh leader met Baghdadi in 2004.

    According to the Russian Defence Ministry, there is no reliable data to confirm that Baghdadi has indeed been killed. Since 2014, there have been at least six instances in which different states and non-state actors claimed to have killed Baghdadi.

    *Daesh (ISIL/ISIS/Islamic State/IS), a terrorist group banned in Russia and a wide number of other countries.


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