President Trump claimed earlier today that the Islamic State has been “defeated” in Syria. But an unknown number of the group’s top leaders, including presumably Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, remain alive. And there are likely thousands of fighters in both Syria and Iraq, where they operate as insurgents.
The US-led coalition and Iraqi forces recently hunted down senior Islamic State personnel responsible for “overseeing operations conducted within Salah ad Din, Kirkuk, Ninewah and northern Anbar provinces.” The Islamic State claims that is men are especially prolific in these same areas. Over a six-week period from Sept. 27 to Nov. 7, the Islamic State claimed a total of 313 operations in Iraq, with more than 100 occurring in Kirkuk province.
In a newly released message, Islamic State spokesman Abul-Hasan Al-Muhajir boasts that his organization’s men were able to carry out the Sept. 22 terrorist attack in Ahvaz, Iran. Al-Muhajir’s message is intended to underscore the Islamic State’s responsibility for the operation, as there were conflicting claims regarding the identity of the perpetrators.