For the first time in five years the chief of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has appeared in a propaganda video released on Monday by the armed group.
“The battle for Baghouz is over,” said the ISIL leader with a large beard and assault weapon close by, sitting cross-legged on a cushion and addressing three men whose faces have been blurred.
It was his first appearance in a video since delivering a sermon at the Great Mosque of al-Nuri, in Mosul, Iraq, in 2014. The speech marked the rise of the group and it’s self-declared “caliphate” in Iraq and Syria.
Baghdadi praised the Easter Sunday attacks in Sri Lanka and apparently called them revenge for the fall of Baghouz, Syria – the last territory that the extremist group held in West Asia.
The 18-minute video released on Monday by Islamic State’s al-Furqan media arm suggests Baghdadi filmed the video prior to the Sri Lanka attack.
The Easter bombings in Sri Lanka killed over 250 people.