The leader of the Islamic State group has appeared for the first time in 5 years in a video released by the extremist group’s propaganda arm. He talks about war against “Crusaders”.
The video released by Al-Furqan on Monday shows Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi appearing with a bushy grey and red beard, wearing a black robe with a beige vest and seated on the floor with what appears to be a machine gun propped up next to him.
It is his first video appearance since he delivered a sermon at the al-Nuri mosque in the Iraqi city of Mosul in 2014.
The SITE Intelligence group said al-Baghdadi acknowledged in the video the defeat in the battle for Baghouz, the group’s last stronghold in Syria, and discussed the bombings in Sri Lanka that killed more than 250 people.
Rumors of al-Baghdadi’s death have persisted as ISIS militants who have surrendered to U.S.-backed coalition forces, believed their ideological leader abandoned their cause.
1) BREAKING: #ISIS’ Furqan issues new video showing leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, marking the first time he is shown in a video since his July 2014 sermon at the Great Mosque in #Mosul pic.twitter.com/cDgOmx7Mhn
— Rita Katz (@Rita_Katz) April 29, 2019
Baghdadi also suffers from diabetes, high blood pressure and injuries sustained during an airstrike years ago.
The United States is offering up to $25 million for any credible information that leads to his capture.