Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurashi: Slain ISIS leader was once an 'eager' US informant
On Thursday, February 3, President Joe Biden announced the death of Islamic State leader Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurashi in a U.S. counterterrorism mission in Syria. Reportedly, Al-Qurashi blew himself up inside his safe house in Idlib, Syria while the U.S. military forces were approaching it. Ground reports show that as many as 13 people died in the explosion. Announcing the news, Biden tweeted, "Last night at my direction, U.S. military forces successfully undertook a counterterrorism operation. Thanks to the bravery of our Armed Forces, we have removed from the battlefield Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi — the leader of ISIS."
Al-Qurashi's death serves a significant blow to the Islamic State and might mark the beginning of the end of the already battered terrorist group. Their caliphate was destroyed by coalition forces over three years ago and since then the group has seen a steep downfall. Meanwhile, Biden celebrated the death of the Daesh supremo, who once happened to be an 'eager' informant to the U.S. military. "We all remember the gut wrenching stories, mass slaughters that wiped out entire villages, thousands of women and young girls sold into slavery, rape used a weapon of war,” and that “this horrible terrorist leader is no more,” Biden said in his White House speech.
Who was Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurashi?
The story of Al-Qurashi's rise as the ISIS supremo can be traced back to 2008 when he served as an indispensable informant to the US Defence Department. Al-Qurashi, whose real name is Amir Muhammad Sa'id Abdal-Rahman Al-Mawla, was held in an American detention camp in Iraq sometime around late 2007 or early 2008 for his militant activities. At the time, the US authorities found him to be a cooperative 'prison snitch', who willingly provided valuable insights about the Islamic State.
A formerly classified 2008 record on Al-Qurashi was released recently where it was noted that "Detainee seems to be more cooperative with every session" and "Detainee is providing a lot of information on ISI associates." In an interview about al-Qurashi, top Defence authority Christopher Maier had stated, "He did a number of things to save his own neck, and he had a long record of being hostile — including during interrogation — toward foreigners in ISIS."
The records of his interrogation stopped in July 2008, as it is presumed that he was released soon afterward. The timeline of his return to Iraq and rise within ISIS is still not clear. It is believed that in 2019, Al-Mawla adopted the new identity of Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurashi. He then officially replaced Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as the leader of Islamic State after the latter's death during a US operation in Idlib.