ISIS chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi appeared Monday in a video for the primary time in 5 years, indicating that he has survived the territorial defeat of the caliphate he proclaimed.
Seated on a flowered mattress in a naked white room, he spoke in regards to the group’s losses within the latest battle of Baghouz, vowed that the battle is just not over and congratulated the perpetrators of the Easter Sunday suicide bombing assaults on church buildings and motels in Sri Lanka.
His beard has grayed since his solely different video look – on the al-Nuri Mosque in Mosul, northern Iraq, in July 2014 – when he first introduced ISIS’s intention to re-create the Islamic caliphate. However in any other case Baghdadi in good well being and confirmed no apparent signal of harm, regardless of quite a few reviews lately that he had been wounded in an airstrike.
The timing of the video, which was launched Monday by ISIS’s Furqan channel, appeared to verify the widespread perception that he survived ISIS’s remaining stand on the battle of Baghouz in jap Syria final month. He’s regarded as hiding out within the desert in both Syria or Iraq, however the video gave no obvious clues as to his present whereabouts.
Rita Katz, director of the SITE Intelligence Group, stated the video illustrates the “critical hazard” that Baghdadi nonetheless poses because the chief of the group.
His look demonstrates not solely the truth that Baghdadi continues to be alive, “but additionally that he’s capable of reemerge to his supporters and reaffirm the group’s us-vs-the-world message after all of the progress made towards the group,” she stated in a posting on her Twitter account.