Somalia-based ISIS Affiliate Pledges Allegiance to New Leader


SOMALIA - The ISIS-linked faction in Somalia, has pledged allegiance to the new leader who was announced last Thursday, as the group seeks to revamp itself after years of losses in an operation instigated by several military teams in the works.

The Islamic State branch has been battling to make a presence in the Horn of Africa nation but their efforts have often been thwarted. The group has a very limited presence in Puntland state, northeastern Somalia.

On Saturday the group said in a statement that it recognizes Abu al-Hassan al-Hashemi al-Quraishi as the group's leader, just days after he was picked. The new leader succeeds Abu Ibrahim al -Quraishi who died last month alongside his successor Abubakr al-Baghdadi.

ISIS affiliate was formed in 2015 in Puntland by a Somali-British man named Abdulkadir Mumin after defecting from Al-Shabaab. The group has, however, faced resistance from Al-Shabaab, a dominant group in Somalia.

The Al-Shabaab group controls large swathes of rural central and southern Somalia and has for decades tried to expand territory. The rivalry between the two groups has made it difficult for both to expand, an advantage to various security forces.

ISIS has resorted to guerrilla attacks since losing its last significant piece of territory in Syria and Iraq. The US military killed the group's first two leaders in special operations in Syria.

Somalia has been a hotbed of terrorism and the United States is now contemplating the possibility of redeploying soldiers to the country to help in fighting against terrorism. The US had withdrawn over 700 soldiers last year following a decree by former President Donald Trump.


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