After U.S. President Donald Trump announced on Sunday that U.S. special forces had carried out a raid that led to the death of Daesh leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, many experts and media outlets for an official statement from the organization confirming the death of its leader or even mourning for him.
In contrast to Daesh, supporters of al Qaeda quickly accepted Baghdadi’s death, according to the U.S.-based SITE Intel Group, which monitors jihadist websites.
“How much blood has been shed in the name of his imaginary Caliphate?” posted Sirajuddin Zurayqat, a former official in a former al Qaeda-linked group, Brigades of Abdullah Azzam, SITE said.
Al Qaeda media reportedly put together a recruiting video urging Daesh devotees to accept Baghdadi’s death as a “glorious night in Muslim history.”
According to the report, some Daesh supporters believe that Baghdadi is still alive, and some expressed shock about that news, which prompted some of them to send messages on Telegram to warn supporters from believing the alleged image of his death.
A Daesh member also wrote on Telegram, “Whatever happens, the convoy of jihad will go on, and will never stop even if the state got wiped out.”
It is noteworthy that al-Qaeda did not confirm the killing of its leader Osama bin Laden in 2011 immediately, then after six weeks, the organization announced the successor of bin Laden. Some experts say Daesh might announced the death of its leader in a weekly newsletter and will announce a new leader.
Questions are raised about the reasons why the organization and its supporters have not officially announced the killing of al-Baghdadi so far. Hisham al-Naggar, a researcher specializing in Islamic movements, explains that there are some factors that prevented the terrorist organization from announcing the killing of its leader, the first of which is a state of confusion, as the killing of al-Baghdadi is considered a major event, leading to a state of fragmentation within the organization, putting its leaders in a state of inactivity and an inability to deal with the media.
He pointed out in an interview with The Reference that the second reason might be a split within the rows of the organization. “This situation does not allow for a unified vision about his future, and these splits have already surfaced even before Baghdadi’s murder, which means this could hinder steps of reorganizing and declaring a new leader.”
Regarding the third factor, Al-Naggar pointed out that they may be waiting for the appointment of a new caliph and reshaping the organization, which will probably take a long time, because such decisions should have the saying of regional forces that support the organization, especially Turkey.