State Department ups reward for capture of ISIS leader to $25 million

ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi

ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi

WASHINGTON — The United States is offering $25 million for information leading to the capture of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

The Department of State released a statement Friday announcing the $25 million dollar reward for the self proclaimed caliph of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria — more than doubling the reward announced previously.

“The threat that al-Baghdadi poses has increased significantly since the Department of State’s initial $10 million reward offer for information leading to his location, arrest, or conviction was announced in 2011,” the department’s Rewards for Justice Program said on its website.

Under al-Baghdadi, ISIS grabbed swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria — earning a reputation for unparallelled brutality.

Officials have long described al-Baghdadi as enemy No. 1 in the fight against the militant group, and speculation has swirled over his whereabouts.

Though al-Baghdadi has been elusive, he has spoken out occasionally in videos and audio messages.

In October 2015, Iraq’s military claimed its air force had struck a convoy in western Anbar province that included a vehicle carrying al-Baghdadi. For weeks, reports circulated that he was seriously injured in the airstrike.

Those reports have since been disputed by US officials.