At this early stage, it is not clear who will succeed him, but a longtime companion of Baghdadi and a religious scholar would appear to be a leading candidate.
He is known in Jihadi circles as Abdullah Kardash, but the US government has identified him as Amir Mohammed Said Abdal-Rahman al-Maul and has been known to have known Baghdadi for at least 15 years. Both were detained in a US-run prison known as Camp Buka shortly after the coalition invaded Iraq in 2003, although it is unclear if they met for the first time.
Born in the 1970s, it is believed that al-Moula was one of the many Ba'athist officers during Saddam Hussein's rule to go illegal after the 2003 American invasion and join forces. its with rebels.
According to the State Department, he "helped to drive and justify the abduction, slaughter and trafficking of the Yazidi religious minority in northwestern Iraq."
Much of the Yazidi community lived in an area near the home of al-Moula. Tal Affair. In 2014, after ISIS had taken Tal Affair and Mosul, the group enslaved thousands of Yazidi women and children and killed thousands of Yazidi men, actions the UN called genocide.
As others in the ISIS hierarchy were killed or killed in battle, al-Maula became a more significant player as one of the group's leading ideologues.
It was widely reported in August that the ISIS affiliate Amaq had declared Al Maul an anointed Baghdadi heir. But the message came from a fictional account, and it certainly would not have been ISIS 'way of issuing such a statement.
Later that month, the United States added al-Moula to its list of justice awards, offering up to $ 5 million in information leading to its capture and saying that "as one of ISIS's highest ideologues … he is a potential successor to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. "
Cole Bunsel, editor of the Jihadica blog, says former ISIS members who have been defective due to differences in ideology and strategy are talking about al-Moula's prospects of becoming the next ISIS leader.
He was often referred to as "the leader of the so-called delegated committee, the executive body of ISIS, which seems to exercise more control over the group on a daily basis than Baghdadi himself," Bunzel tells CNN.
Al-Moula faces obstacles
Given that al-Moula may inherit Baghdad, perhaps the ethnic origin is Turkmen, and ISIS leadership has always been dominated from Arabs, most Iraqis. There are other obstacles that Al Moula would face. It is widely believed among the jihadists that the "caliph" should have certain qualities and powers.
One is the requirement that it be descended from the Quraish tribe of Prophet Muhammad. Another requirement is that you have considerable knowledge of Islamic jurisprudence. His experience as a "religious scholar" in a terrorist group may have allowed him to convince jihadists of his theological authority, but he did not publicly declare the Quraish lineage.
There may be other candidates, but the complete secret of ISIS and the fact that an unknown number of its senior figures have been killed complicates any assessment. It is not even clear that the Sharia Board of the group, whose duties include electing a caliph or leader, is still functioning.
Syrian Kurdish forces say hours after Baghdadi's death that another leading figure in ISIS – Abu Hasan al-Muhajir – was also killed. A senior State Department official confirmed this on Monday, saying he was the "number two kind" of Baghdad. Al-Muhajir has become an important figure in the group's media network, whose production began to rebound this year. Like al-Maul, he was a veteran of the cause, returning to the days of al-Qaeda in Iraq.
Al-Muhajir assumed responsibility on behalf of the Iranian Parliament attack group in 2017.
Whoever leads the next ISIS – like Baghdadi – will devote most of his time to hiding from the group's numerous enemies, whether in the deserts of Western Iraq or somewhere in northern Syria. Like Baghdadi and Osama bin Laden, it will be difficult for him to communicate with other members of the group, knowing that messaging couriers are often the weakest link. And ISIS is not without its own divisions, especially in terms of ideology.
Signs of a rebirth of ISIS
But he will also take responsibility for a group that shows signs of a rebirth in several Iraqi provinces north of Baghdad and will return to partisan tactics and killings that ISIS used before winning territory in 2014. ISIS supporters in Iraq will celebrate the renewed volatility of the country amid popular protests there. And when US troops withdraw, there are fears that the group will be able to regenerate in Syria.
ISIS is estimated to have raised tens of millions of dollars. And it has branches – from the Sahel to the Sinai Desert in Egypt to Southeast Asia – that are still active and pledge allegiance to the Islamic State.