BEIRUT — The leader of the Islamic State group has appeared for the first time in 5 years in a video released by the extremist group’s propaganda arm.
The video released by Al-Furqan on Monday shows Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi appearing with a bushy gray and red beard, wearing a black robe with a beige vest and seated on the floor with what appears to be a machine gun propped up next to him.
BREAKING: Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi appears for first time in 5 years in video released by the extremist group. https://t.co/X3RjsagtRt
This July 5, 2014 photo shows an image grab taken from a propaganda video released by al-Furqan Media allegedly showing the leader of the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, aka Caliph Ibrahim, adressing Muslim worshippers at a mosque in the militant-held northern Iraqi city of Mosul. Baghdadi, who on June 29 proclaimed a “caliphate” straddling Syria and Iraq, purportedly ordered all Muslims to obey him in the video released on social media. In early 2014 the self-styled Islamic State entered the northern Syrian city of Raqqa, declaring it their capital and beginning a reign of terror marked by grisly public executions. Armed sharia police patrolled the streets as “enemies” of the regime were crucified or decapitated, their severed heads impaled on spikes in the city square. / AFP PHOTO /
It is his first video appearance since he delivered a sermon at the al-Nuri mosque in the Iraqi city of Mosul in 2014.
The SITE Intelligence group said al-Baghdadi acknowledged in the video the defeat in the battle for Baghouz, the group’s last stronghold in Syria, and discussed the bombings in Sri Lanka that killed more than 250 people.