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The New Arab Staff

IS attacks Gulf states and calls for strikes on 'Saudi economic interests'

IS declared a 'caliphate' in 2014 [Getty]

Date of publication: 19 October, 2020

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The Islamic State group called on its militants to strike the economic interests of Saudi Arabia, which it described as an agent of Israel.

The Islamic State group [IS] took aim at Gulf states for operating as "agents" of other powers in the region, in the latest speech by its spokesman.

IS called on its fighters to strike the economic interests of Saudi Arabia, which it described as an "agent of Israel", the militants' spokesperson Abu Hamza Al-Quraishi said.

The IS spokesman also attacked Qatar for hosting the US Al-Udeid base in the country and slammed the Muslim Brotherhood - which it described as a "bankrupt brotherhood" - as working on behalf of Iran.

IS militants declared a "caliphate" after capturing large swathes of Syria and neighbouring Iraq in 2014, implementing their brutal interpretation of religion on millions under their rule.

The militant group controlled territory equivalent to the size of the UK until a US-backed assaults by the Iraqi military and Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces - along with other separate offensives by Turkey, rebels and the Assad regime - saw the last IS outpost in eastern Syria fall last year.

US special forces in October killed the group's leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi inside Syria, dealing a blow to the militants.

Despite this, analysts believe the militant organisation is taking advantage of the coronavirus outbreak, coalition troop withdrawals, and political stagnation in Baghdad to ramp up its activities.

Read also: Iran says cyber attack targeted country's ports

The United States has doubled an offer of up to $10 million for anyone who provides information that leads to the arrest of the group's new leader.

The US State Department’s official Arabic-language "Rewards for Justice" account announced the bounty on Twitter, describing the new militant leader, Haji Abdullah, a "terrorist" involved in "shedding the blood of innocent people and killing and kidnapping Iraqi and non-Iraqi civilians".

The post also labelled the militant as a "traitor" that "revealed the identities of his fellow terrorists", referring to reports of his alleged cooperation with US forces during his detention in Iraq's Bucca prison.

Intelligence given to the US in 2008 by the new IS leader, identified by his real name Muhammed Saeed Abd Al-Rahman al-Mawla, reportedly led to the killing of several Al-Qaeda members, according to documents released by the US government.

Intelligence provided at the time included the names of 88 Al-Qaeda fighters as well as information on the structure of the group in Iraq's Mosul, three Tactical Interrogation Reports (TIR) released by the Combating Terrorism Centre (CTC) revealed.

The Iraqi national also uses other names such as Abu Omar Al-Turkmani and Abd Al-Amir Muhammad Saeed Al-Salbi.

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