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The New Arab

IS spokesman killed in north Syria airstrike

IS spokesperson was killed shortly after Baghdadi (Getty)

Date of publication: 27 October, 2019

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The Islamic State group's spokesman was killed Sunday in northern Syria shortly after the militants' leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was announced dead.

The Islamic State group's spokesman was killed Sunday in northern Syria, a top Kurdish official said, hours after the militants' leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was announced dead.

The official with the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces - who asked not to be named because he is not authorised to speak on the issue - said IS spokesman Abu Hassan al-Muhajir had been killed, after SDF chief Mazloum Abdi said he had been "targeted" in a fresh raid.

"Al-Muhajir, the right-hand of Baghdadi and the spokesman for IS, was targeted in the village of Ain al-Baydah near Jarablus, in a coordinated operation between SDF intelligence and the US army," Abdi said on Twitter.

Local sources told The New Arab aircraft belonging to the International Coalition targeted a person in the village which is under control of the Turkey-backed National Army. 

There were no troops on the ground, and the implementation of the operation was limited to aerial bombardment, and the body of the target was reportedly charred.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirmed the death of al-Muhajir, saying he was among five IS members who were killed in a US-led operation backed by the SDF.

In a later post on Twitter, SDF spokesman Mustefa Bali said: "We believe ISIS spox. Al-Muhajir was in Jarablus to facilitate Baghdadi's entry to Euphrates Shield area," referring to a zone in northern Syria controlled by Turkey's Syria proxies.

"The two US-led operations have effectively disabled top ISIS leadership who were hiding" in northwest Syria.

"More still remain hiding in the same area," Bali said.

US President Donald Trump officially announced the death of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi on Sunday, saying the notorious militant "died like a dog".

Trump confirmed details published earlier, including reports Baghdadi killed himself and three of his children with a suicide vest as US special operations forces approached his position in Syria's Idlib region.

US forces killed a "large number" of Islamic State militants during the raid which culminated in cornering Baghdadi in a tunnel, where he set off a suicide vest.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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