Published: Wed, May 01, 2019
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

What the return of IS leader Baghdadi means

What the return of IS leader Baghdadi means

In the video released by IS's Al-Furqan media arm, the man said to be Baghdadi referred to the monthslong fight for IS's final redoubt Baghouz, which ended in March.

"Baghdadi also accepts pledges from BurkinaFaso and Mali, directly mentioning Abu Walid al-Sahrawi and praising him and his attacks against French forces and their allies".

In the video published on Monday, Islamic State's media network said it was a video message from its leader.

Mr.al-Baghdadi said that the battle for Baghouz demonstrated the "barbarism and brutality" of the West and the "courage, steadfastness and resilience of the nation of Islam".

Baghdadi, 47, had a long grey beard that appeared dyed with henna and spoke slowly, often pausing for several seconds in the middle of his sentences.

He was known for a series of high-profile speeches, including from the central mosque in Mosul during the height of the Islamic State group's reign.

That same year, ISIS would become the target of a multinational coalition assembly by the US, which began to bomb the group across the large parts of Iraq and Syria under Baghdadi's command.

The last time Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi appeared on camera was the summer of 2014, when from the pulpit of a mosque in Mosul he declared himself "caliph" of the first modern-day caliphate. He namely discussed the recent Sri Lanka bombings that claimed the lives of over 250 people.

Abdul Mahdi said Islamic State's capabilities had "greatly reduced" but that the group still posed a threat. However while this was said, Baghdadi is not in view in the video and it is assumed that the audio clipping was attached later.

The tape, whose authenticity could not be confirmed, included text suggesting it was recorded this month.

In the video he says the Easter attacks in Sri Lanka were revenge for the events in Baghouz. In August a year ago, the Al Furqan Foundation had released 55-minute audio in which Baghdadi was addressing his followers to keep the fight going in Iraq and Syria.

The structures of Isis in Syria and Iraq have been decimated by a five-year war that culminated in Baghuz, on the edge of the Euphrates.

This latest one comes about a month after US -backed forces declared the end of ISIS' territorial control after they took control of Baghouz. That alleged audio clip was released past year in May after media reports stated that Baghdadi may have been killed in a Russian air strike in Syria's Raqqa.

He also asked God to protect them and Abu Waleed al-Sahrawi, the leader of Daesh in the Greater Sahara.

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