ISIS “leader” Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi appears in first video since 2014

ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi

ISIS has released a video of a man it says is its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who is filmed vowing to seek revenge for the loss of its self-proclaimed caliphate.

Baghdadi has not been seen since 2014, when he announced from Mosul the creation of their so-called “caliphate” across parts of Iraq and Syria.

In the latest video, the ISIS leader admits to being defeated in the town of Baghuz, the group’s last stronghold in Iraq.

It is unclear when the video was recorded but ISIS claims it was shot in April.

The footage was posted on the group’s al-Furqan media network.

Baghdadi says the Easter Sunday bombings in Sri Lanka which killed 253 people in churches and hotels was revenge for the fall of Baghuz.

He also says that he has had pledges of allegiance from fighters in Mali and Burkina Faso, as well as mentioning the anti-government protests Algeria and Sudan and Algeria – stating that “jihad” is the only way to remove “tyrants”. Both African countries have seen their long-term rulers overthrown in April.

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However, Baghdadi’s disappears towards the end of the video and is replaced with an audio recording of him discussing the Sri Lanka attacks, which suggests that this part was recorded after the main video was filmed.

Real name Ibrahim Awwad Ibrahim al-Badri, Baghdadi was last heard in an audio recording in August 2018.

During that audio, he seemed to be trying to divert and downplay the group’s rapid loss of territory.

In the recent 18-minute video, Baghdadi addresses the losses head on.

He said: “The battle for Baghuz is over…There will be more to come after this battle.”

Baghdadi added that ISIS is fighting a “battle of attrition”.

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