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State Department blacklists new IS leader

Amir Muhammad Sa'id Abdal-Rahman al-Mawla was appointed leader of the Islamic State terrorist organization after the death of Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi in October. Photo courtesy of U.S. Department of State/Website 
Amir Muhammad Sa'id Abdal-Rahman al-Mawla was appointed leader of the Islamic State terrorist organization after the death of Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi in October. Photo courtesy of U.S. Department of State/Website 

March 18 (UPI) -- The Trump administration has blacklisted Amir Muhammad Sa'id Abdal-Rahman al-Mawla, the new leader of the Islamic State terrorist organization.

The State Department announced it was registering al-Mawla as a "Specially Designated Global Terrorist" on Tuesday, stating he was named the leader of IS following the death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in October.

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Al-Baghdadi died when he detonated a suicide vest in a dead-end tunnel during a U.S. military raid on his compound in northwest Syria.

Prior to heading IS, al-Mawla was active in al-Qaida in Iraq and rose through the ranks of IS, becoming its deputy amir, the State Department said in a statement, adding that he "helped drive and attempt to justify the abduction, slaughter and trafficking of Yazidi religious minorities in northwest Iraq" as well as oversees IS' global operations.

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The terrorist organization, which once occupied about a third of Syria and 40 percent of Iraq, has dwindled and last year its final caliphate in Syria was recaptured by U.S.-backed forces.

"We've destroyed the caliphate and we remain committed to [IS'] enduring defeat no matter who they designate as their leader," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters Tuesday while remarking on al-Mawla's designation.

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The State Department -- which has offered a $5 million reward for information on al-Mawla -- said the designation prohibits Americans from doing business with al-Mawla and blocks all of his property and interests in property subject to U.S. jurisdiction.

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"This whole-of-government effort is destroying [IS] in its safe havens, denying its ability to recruit foreign terrorist fighters, stifling its financial resources, countering the false propaganda it disseminates over the Internet and social media and helping to stabilize liberated areas in Iraq and Syria so the displaced can return to their homes and begin to rebuild their lives," the State Department said.

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