Al Qaeda in Iraq has named replacements for the top leaders killed in a U.S-Iraqi raid north of Baghdad in April, according to a statement posted Sunday on jihadist Web sites.
The statement identified Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi Al-Husseini al-Qurashi as the new leader of the Islamic State of Iraq, an umbrella group that includes al Qaeda in Iraq, and named Abu Abdullah al-Hasani al-Qurashi as his deputy and "first minister." There was no independent confirmation of the claim, which appeared on various various radical Islamist websites known for posting similar statements from al Qaeda figures, nor were any details about either of the men immediately available.
The announcement comes nearly a month after the April 18 raid that killed Islamic State of Iraq leader Abu Omar al-Baghdadi and Abu Ayyub al-Masri, the military leader of al Qaeda in Iraq. The raid also killed al-Baghadi's son and an assistant to al-Masri, U.S. and Iraqi officials said. A U.S. soldier was killed in a helicopter crash during the assault, the U.S. command in Baghdad reported.