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Turkey offers details of ISIL leader’s death in Syria

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Turkey released new details Monday about its operation against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’s (ISIL) global chief, saying he died by setting off a suicide vest to avoid being detained, Agence France-Presse reported.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced Sunday the death of the “suspected leader of Daesh, codename Abu Hussein al-Qurashi.”

Turkey’s Anadolu state news agency gave his full name as Abu al-Hussein al-Husseini al-Qurashi, saying he joined ISIL in 2013 and quickly rose through the radical group’s ranks.

Turkish media also released images of a fenced-off building in the middle of a field where it said Qurashi was hiding in Syria’s Afrin province.

A section of the two-story house was sheared off, apparently from blasts.

The ISIL announced the death of its previous leader, Abu Hasan al-Hashimi al-Qurashi, on November 30.

Anadolu said Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MIT) conducted a four-hour operation during which it located and surrounded al-Hussein al-Husseini on Saturday.

MIT agents blasted apart a stone wall that surrounded the house, before entering it through a rear entrance and side windows.

Al-Hussein al-Husseini set off his suicide vest when he realized he was about to be captured, Anadolu said, adding that no Turkish operatives were killed or injured.

An AFP correspondent in northern Syria said the operation had targeted an abandoned farm that was being used as an Islamic school.

Turkey has deployed troops in northern Syria since 2020, and controls entire zones with the help of Syrian proxies.

At its height, when it controlled swathes of Iraq and Syria, the IS group claimed responsibility for a series of attacks in Europe.

In October 2019, Washington announced it had killed ISIL leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in northwestern Syria, and several of the group’s top commanders have since been killed in raids.

Despite having been driven out of much of the territory it once controlled, the group still launches attacks in Syria.

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