Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi ,ISIS leader has reappeared in a new video, after nearly five years of absence. In the video, he blames the “savagery” of Christians for ISIS’ defeat in the battle of Baghouz and vowed to get revenge for his dead militants.
The ISIS leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, praised the bombers who killed more than 250 people in Sri Lanka on Easter and vowed that his group would keep fighting until “Judgment Day.”
Al-Baghdadi, who is the leader of the Islamist terrorist group, was last seen in July 2014, when he gave his last sermon at the Great Mosque in Mosul, Iraq. He has not appeared in a video since then.
He reappeared for the first time in a propaganda video released today by the jihadist organisation
In an 18-minute video released by an Islamic State media group and distributed by the SITE Intelligence Group, Mr. al-Baghdadi sits on the ground in an Arab-style sitting room, his elbow perched on a pillow as he calmly speaks to a group of unidentified followers with an assault rifle at his side.
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. A written script at the start of the video dates it to earlier in April, but the authenticity and exact date of the recording has not yet been independently verified,
The Islamic State lost the last of the territory it controlled in Iraq and Syria, the town of Baghuz, last month, but the group is believed to still have thousands of fighters there who have gone underground.
As it lost territory in the Middle East, the Islamic State has expanded abroad, turning to its international affiliates to carry out attacks further afield. The coordinated bombing attack in Sri Lanka last week was one of the group’s deadliest, causing nearly twice as many deaths as the 2015 Paris attacks did.
Sitting on a cushion and speaking to three men whose faces have been blurred, Baghdadi said: “The battle for Baghouz is over.”
He continued: “There will be more to come after this battle”, adding that his group is fighting a “battle of attrition”.
He blamed the fall of his “caliphate” on the “savagery” of Christians towards Muslims and that the battle of Baghouz demonstrated the “barbarism and brutality” of the West and the “courage, steadfastness and resilience of the nation of Islam”.
Baghdadi said: “Truthfully, the battle of Islam and its people against the cross and its people is a long battle. The battle of Baghouz is over. But it did show the savagery, brutality and ill intentions of the Christians towards the Muslim community.”
In the video, he also said the Easter Sunday bombings in Sri Lanka were carried out by ISIS in retaliation for ISIS’s defeat in Baghouz.
Baghdadi’s voice is heard referring to the April 21 Easter attacks as “vengeance for their brothers in Baghouz”.
Baghdadi said: “There will be more to come after this battle. In fact, the battle of Islam and its people against the Crusaders and their followers is a long battle. This steadfastness shocked the hearts of the Crusaders in what increased their rage.”
Baghdadi has been rumoured to have been wounded or killed several times in the past and a bounty of $25million remains for his head.