Iraq arrests ISIS leader Abdulnasser al-Qirdash said to be al-Baghdadi’s successor

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Iraqi intelligence has arrested Abdulnasser al-Qirdash, the ISIS leader said to be a favored candidate to succeed Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, according to several Iraqi media outlets.

“Today, the terrorist named Abdulnasser al-Qirdash, the candidate to succeed the criminal al-Baghdadi, was arrested. [The arrest] came after accurate intelligence,” the statement from the Iraqi National Intelligence Service read.

Al-Qirdash was one of the candidates to succeed al-Baghdadi, who was killed by US forces in a raid in the Syrian city of Idlib last October.

The latest raid that led to the capture and arrest of al-Qirdash comes a month after Mustafa al-Kadhimi, Iraq’s former intelligence chief, became the country’s prime minister.

Al-Qirdash had served as the head of the negotiations committee within ISIS. He had also worked with the organization as a leader during the time of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Most recently, al-Qirdash was in charge of the battles for al-Baghouz in Syria, a small town in the province of Deir ez-Zor close to the Iraqi border and the final stronghold for ISIS.

Speaking to Al Arabiya, al-Qirdash confirmed that ISIS leadership, at the request of al-Baghdadi, reevaluated the terrorist group’s ideas after in recent years after it began losing many of its strongholds.

“There was a massive reevaluation of the Islamic State after it lost vast areas including Kobani and many other areas. There were three of us, myself, Omar al-Furkan and Ayoub Rakawi, who sat with the leadership to review our steps,” al-Qirdash told Al Arabiya.

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