ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi on Monday released a new propaganda video for the first time in five years — revealing that despite the terrorist organization’s loss of its so-called caliphate in Iraq and Syria, its self-proclaimed leader is still alive and well.
In an 18-minute video posted online by ISIS’s al-Furqan Media, al-Baghdadi praises the perpetrators of the Easter Sunday Bombing in Sri Lanka, discusses the recent battle of Baghouz in Syria in which ISIS lost its final territorial holdout, and vows to continue the fight, declaring “the battle of Islam and its people with the Crusader and his people is a long battle.”
Dressed in a grey thobe (a long, robe-like garment commonly worn by men in many parts of the Middle East) with a khaki military-style vest over it and sporting a gray beard half-dyed with orange henna, al-Baghdadi, 47, appears to be in good health. The video shows him sitting on the floor of what looks like a tent, addressing a small handful of followers whose faces are blurred out.
Though he released an audio message back in 2018, this is the first time the reclusive terror leader has been seen on video since July 2014, when he first declared the creation of the ISIS caliphate from the pulpit of the al-Nuri Mosque in Mosul, Iraq. In that speech, al-Baghdadi proclaimed to his followers, “You will conquer Rome and own the world.”