ISIS Leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi Appears in Video for First Time in Five Years and Claims Sri Lanka Easter Bombings Were ‘Revenge’ for Loss of Territory

ISIS media Wing, al- Furqan, released a new video titled ‘In the Hospitality of the Emir of the Believers,’ purporting to show the terror group’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. This is the first time we have seen al-Baghdadi since he appeared in July 2014 when he gave a sermon at the Great Mosque in Mosul.

The Islamic State group has released a video of a man it says is its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, vowing to seek revenge for its loss of territory.

He has not been seen since 2014, when he proclaimed from Mosul the creation of a “caliphate” across parts of Syria and Iraq.

In this new footage, Baghdadi acknowledges defeat at Baghuz, the group’s last stronghold in the region.

It is not clear when the video was recorded. IS says it was shot in April.

The footage was posted on the militant group’s al-Furqan media network.

What does he say?

Baghdadi says the Easter Sunday Sri Lanka attacks were carried out as revenge for the fall of the Iraqi town of Baghuz.

The BBC’s Mina al-Lami points out initial IS claims regarding the Sri Lanka attacks make no reference to the town.

He also says that he has had pledges of allegiance from militants in Burkina Faso and Mali, and talks about the protests in Sudan and Algeria – claiming that jihad is the only solution to “tyrants”. Both countries have seen their long-term rulers overthrown this month.

However, Baghdadi’s image disappears towards the end of the video and an audio recording of him discussing the Sri Lanka attacks is played instead, suggesting that this part was recorded after the main video was filmed.

Click here to read more.