The ISIS chief, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who is the world’s most wanted terrorist, has re-emerged for the first time since 2014 and warned of a long war against the West.
Baghdadi, in an 18-minute video released on Monday, said, “The war of Islam and its followers against the crusaders and their followers is a long one”, reported The New Yorker.
The ISIS chief, who had an AK-47 rifle perched by his side, was talking to a group of followers in a room. “Our battle today is a war of attrition to harm the enemy,
The video was clearly designed to rally his followers across the globe and to prove that neither he nor his Islamic State has been obliterated, a month after being defeated in Baghouz, Syria, its last stronghold.
The message is a negation of US President Trump’s statement that Islamic State had been eliminated “one hundred per cent.”
The US has a bounty of up to $25 million for information leading to Baghdadi’s arrest. He is believed to be hiding somewhere in the desert along the Syria-Iraq border, probably on the Iraq side.
Baghdadi also congratulated the perpetrators of the Sri Lanka attack, which he claimed was retaliation for the loss of Baghouz, and cited the protest movements in Algeria and Sudan that recently ousted those countries’ long-standing leaders.
Although the video is not dated, but it appeared to have been recorded recently.
Commenting on the latest development, Charles Lister said, “This is the first video of Baghdadi for nearly five years, and it comes at a crucially important time for a terrorist organisation emerging from a territorial defeat in its Syria-Iraq heartlands.”
Lister – a senior fellow at the Middle East Institute – said that ISIS was trying to reassert itself as a global movement capable of carrying out terror attacks around the world.