A former Physics teacher has been installed as the stand-in leader of ISIS in the self-proclaimed Caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s absence.
Abu Alaa Afri, the Caliph’s mysterious right-hand man, has been voted by the inner circle of the ISIS leader as a temporary leader of the terror group after al-Baghdadi suffered serious injuries from a US-led coalition airstrike last month.
Iraqi and Western officials confirmed earlier reports that the shadowy figurehead of Islamic State suffered injuries during an air attack in northwestern Iraq on March 18, which rendered him incapable of carrying out his day-to-day duties as caliph of the terror group.
Urgent meetings of ISIS senior officials ensued after believing that their leader would d*e from his life-threatening injuries.
Hisham al-Hashimi, an Iraqi government adviser, confirmed that Abu Alaa Afri is now acting as the terror group’s leader while al-Baghdadi is recuperating from his injuries. If al-Baghdadi d**s, Afri would be the next leader of ISIS.
Al-Hashimi said the stand-in leader of DAESH (an Arabic term for ISIS) has begun to be in charge of the group with the help of other senior ISIS officials.
Afri rose from the ranks of the group and has become more prominent in the eyes of ISIS leadership. He is now seen as more important than al-Baghdadi himself, Hashimi claims.
“Yes. He’s more important, smarter and with better relationships. He is a good public speaker and has a strong charisma,” says the Iraqi adviser when asked if Afri is now more important within the group than Baghdadi.
“All the leaders of Daesh find that he has much jihadi wisdom, and good capability at leadership and administration,” he added.
Abu Alaa Afri, a follower of prominent jihadi scholar Abu Musaab al-Suri was, a Physics teacher in Tal Afar in Nineveh and has several publications and religious studies of his own.
Hassan Hassan, Middle East analyst and co-author of the New York Times bestseller ISIS: Inside the Army of Terror, said Afri started his rise to prominence after ISIS suffered setbacks in Syria and Iraq in recent months. He replaced ISIS’s Syria governor Abu Ali al-Anbari as al-Baghdadi’s top man after al-Baghdadi became less involved in decision making for security reasons.
Hassan, however, clarified that Afri‘s rise should not be viewed as overtaking al-Baghdadi as he was installed as the “supreme leader” of ISIS.