US official predicts Islamic State will replace slain leader

WASHINGTON (AP) — A senior U.S. counterterrorism official says he expects a new leader of the Islamic State will emerge following the killing of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in a weekend raid.

Acting Director of the National Counterterrorism Center Russell Travers says the killing of the Islamic State leader by U.S. forces in Syria on Saturday was a “significant” development.

But Travers warned that the group has a “deep bench” of militants who could replace al-Baghdadi.

He spoke Wednesday at a House hearing on global national security threats.

He told members of Congress that said he didn’t think al-Baghdadi’s death would affect any attacks that were in the process of being planned by a group that once controlled a large swath of territory across Syria and Iraq.

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