After five years, a new video message from ISIS, speculated to be featuring its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has been broadcasted. ISIS media wing al-Furqan published the video on Monday, reported CNN.
If authentic, it would be the first time that Baghdadi have been broadcasted since July 2014, when he spoke at the Great Mosque in Mosul.
“Battle for Baghouz is over,” said a man impersonating to be Baghdadi, wearing a casual outfit, sitting on the ground next to an assault rifle. He cited the last town held by ISIS in eastern Syria.
The Battle of Baghuz Fawqani was an armed conflict between Kurdish led Syrian Democratic Forces, co operated by American-led coalition and special forces personnel, that began on 9 February 2019 as part of the Deir ez-Zor campaign of the Syrian Civil War. Eventually, Baghouz was liberated from the terror group in late March, marking the collapse of the group’s so-called Caliphate.
The video showed the man praising 21st April’s Sri Lanka bombing, which killed more than 250 people and wounded at least 500. Benjamin Netanyahu’s election victory in Israel, the resignation of Algeria’s president Abdelaziz Bouteflika, and the fall of Sudan’s president, Omar al-Bashir, was also covered in his speech. Several audio messages claiming to be from Baghdadi, most recently, one in August 2018 recorded a man to be admitting that ISIS groups were losing, as ISIS lost its grasp on territory in Syria.
“At this time, we are working to independently corroborate the validity of the video posted today reportedly showing Abu Bakr al Baghdadi,” said Col. Scott Rawlinson, a spokesman for the US-led coalition fighting ISIS.
“We are continuing to support partner forces in their mission of an enduring defeat of Daesh, which includes the capability to finance their operations, recruit new members, and collaborate to conduct violent extremist attacks,” Scott added.
The assessment of US intelligence agencies, based on reports from ISIS detainees and refugees in Northern Syria, reported that Baghdadi had been wounded in an airstrike in May 2017. It also said that he had to relinquish control of the terror group for up to five months because of his injuries.
“There are still an estimated 15,000 to 30,000 ISIS fighters remaining in Iraq and Syria despite coalition forces retaking control of the territory,” US military, Iraqi and Kurdish officials told the US senator Angus King.