Two insight administrations said al-Salbi took over from Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi after the psychological militant exploded himself in October.
The Daesh* terrorist group is now headed by one of its founding members, Amir Mohammed Abdul Rahman al-Mawli al-Salbi, The Guardian reports citing intelligence officials.
The report said Salbi was named a few hours after Baghdadi killed himself detonating an explosives-laden vest during a USA raid in Syria's Idlib in late October, 2019.
The group however named Abu Ibrahim al Hashimi al Quraishi as the successor. Qureshi is a pseudonym, which has not been confirmed by other leaders or intelligence agencies.
The city of Mosul itself has been a refuge for the rest of the group and hierarchy leaders, who have tried to blend into communities that are rebuilding regularly after five years of war and dislocation. He is one of the few non-Arabs under the leadership.
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After studying Sharia Law at the University of Mosul, al-Salbi worked his way up the ISIS ladder.
Salbi, as intelligence officials now know him, rose through the ranks helped by his background as an Islamic scholar and gave religious rulings that underwrote the genocide against Yazidis and the emptying of the Nieveh Plains in northern Iraq during the height of the Isis rampage.
In 2004 he was detained by USA forces in Camp Bucca prison in southern Iraq where he met Baghdadi, according to The Guardian report. With a $5m bounty on his head, Baghdadi was already marked as a target by the U.S. before the USA special forces' bombing that set a snare for him.
Some analysts have suggested the group was caught off guard by Baghdadi's killing and that the true identity of its new leader remained uncertain. The group ramped up its attacks in the second half of a year ago, especially at the border of Syria and Iraq, and showed signs of regrouping after its territorial defeat in both countries. The group said that they have carried out around 106 attacks between 20 and 26 December for avenging the deaths of their previous leaders.
The Guardian said on Monday that the new Daesh leader is also known by the names of Haji Abdullah and possibly Abdullah Qardash. This came amid tensions between Washington and Tehran after the U.S. assassination of Qasem Sulaimani, the Iranian commander who led Iran's proxy wars in the region.