According to reports Abu Alaa al-Afri has been leading the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group since the Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was injured following a US airstrike last month.
Dr. Hisham al Hashimi, an advisor to the government of Iraq, has said al-Afri is a former physics teacher who is well known by the militants as a charismatic figure.
Speaking to Newsweek, Hashimi said al-Afri is ready to assume permanent command if self-appointed Caliph al-Baghdadi dies who is believed to be seriously injured in the airstrike.
He said “After al-Baghdadi’s wounding, he [al-Afri] has begun to head up Daesh [the Arabic term for ISIS] with the help of officials responsible for other portfolios.”
Hashimi further added “He will be the leader of Daesh if al-Baghdadi dies.”
This is the second time al-Baghdadi has been targeted in an airstrike by US in Iraq with Iraqi officials saying in November last year that al-Baghdadi was among the ISIS leaders when he was targeted in the airstrike.
The appointment of al-Afri as the terror group’s new leader comes as sources with connections to the group revealed that al-baghdadi has lost day-to-day control of the group since his wounds were life-threatening at first.