Islamic State launched a video Monday of a person the militant group recognized as its chief, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, in what can be his first look in 5 years, a month after the militants have been pushed out of their final stronghold in Syria.
Within the 18-minute video, the person resembling Baghdadi is seen sitting on the bottom amid different males whose faces are blurred as he discusses the warfare towards “crusaders” and the latest battle of Baghouz in Syria, Rita Katz, director of SITE Intelligence Group, which screens jihadist social media, mentioned in a sequence of tweets.
The Islamic State chief hasn’t been seen since his notorious look in a video from the Grand Mosque in Mosul, Iraq, the place he introduced the creation of the so-called Islamic State caliphate, which as soon as held swaths of land in Iraq and Syria. A number of studies had emerged up to now years that Baghdadi had been both injured or killed as his whereabouts remained unknown.
Baghdadi praised the Sri Lanka attackers, calling the bombings revenge for Baghouz, the group’s final pocket of territory, in accordance with SITE. Greater than 200 folks, together with as many as 30 foreigners, have been killed in a sequence of coordinated explosions on Easter Sunday at church buildings and luxurious resorts throughout Sri Lanka.
U.S.-backed Kurdish forces mentioned final month that that they had utterly eradicated the Islamic State from its final pocket of management on the Euphrates River.
In December, President Donald Trump introduced that Islamic State had been defeated and that he was bringing U.S. troops dwelling from Syria, a choice that prompted Protection Secretary Jim Mattis to resign. The president later acknowledged that Islamic State remained a menace, and his administration mentioned as many as 400 troops would keep.
The group’s potential to encourage terrorist assaults even with out holding territory has been underscored in latest assaults, akin to that in Sri Lanka — blamed on a neighborhood jihadist group and claimed by Islamic State — and an armed assault claimed by the group within the Democratic Republic of Congo earlier this month.