ISIS release new video showing their leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi IS alive as he makes his first appearance since 2014 and vows to avenge his defeated militants
- Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi appeared in a new video for the first time since July 2014
- The ISIS leader has been a recluse since announcing the existence of the group
- In the new footage released today he vowed to get revenge for dead militants
- It was rumoured Baghdadi had been killed or wounded during fight against ISIS
ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has appeared in a new video for the first time in nearly five years and has vowed to get revenge for his dead militants.
The leader of the Islamist group gave his last sermon at the Great Mosque in Mosul, Iraq, in July 2014.
He has not appeared in a video since announcing the existence of the Islamic State from the pulpit of the mosque nearly five years ago in a clip played around the world.
An image from the new footage was shared today by SITE Intel Group – an US company that tracks online activity of white supremacist and jihadist organisations.
It showed the haggard militant, looking gaunt with a greying beard, compared to his black facial hair in 2014.
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi seen in a new video for the first time since 2014 when he announced the existence of ISIS at the Great Mosque in Mosul, Iraq
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, delivering a sermon at a mosque in Iraq during his first public appearance on July 5, 2014
The elusive chief appeared for the first time in a propaganda video released today by the jihadist organisation.
The 47-year-old Iraqi recluse, who suffers from diabetes, has been rumoured to have been wounded or killed several times in the past.
But his whereabouts have never been confirmed and a $25million price remains for his scalp.
It is unclear when the footage was filmed, but Baghdadi referred in the past tense to the months-long fight for Baghouz, IS’s final bastion in eastern Syria, which ended last month.
ISIS leader al-Baghdadi could be seen reading from a piece of paper as declared that ‘the battle for Baghouz is over’
He said in thew clip, sitting cross-legged on a cushion and addressing three men whose faces have been blurred: ‘The battle for Baghouz is over.’
As ISIS was driven out of its remaining stronghold last month the whereabouts of its leaders, including Baghdadi, remained unclear.
Syrian Democratic Forces declared a ‘total elimination’ of the jihadist group in March after flushing out suicidal jihadists from the holdout in Baghouz, eastern Syria.
Those who had not been killed or captured in Iraq and Syria as US-backed forces recaptured the militants’ territory dispersed to their countries of origin.
During the terrorist group’s bloody last stand male and female fanatics hid in caves as a barrage of air strikes rained down on their position.
But the world’s most wanted man – Baghdadi, who declared himself the tyrant of the regime in 2014 – was reportedly not among those holed up in the caves.