IS leader al-Baghdadi appears in new video for first time in 5 years

Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, last seen in 2015, appeared in a recently-produced video released on Monday. Image by EPA-EFE/IS video

April 29 (UPI) — Islamic State terror leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi appeared for the first time in five years Monday in a new propaganda video for the militant group.

In the video, al-Baghdadi speaks for about 18 minutes with an assault rifle at his side. His face was uncovered, but faces of other three IS members are covered. The video offers no indication of where it was shot.

The new video was released by Al-Furqan, the Islamic State’s publicity arm. In it, al-Baghdadi mentions last month’s battle for Baghouz, the last IS stronghold in eastern Syria to fall. He says with the end of that battle, the physical caliphate of the Islamic State, which he announced five years ago, is over.

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Al-Baghdadi was last seen in public in 2014 to announce the rise of the IS caliphate from the Grand Mosque of al-Nuri in Mosul, Iraq. In Monday’s video, he appears noticeably older, but in good health despite diabetes and high blood pressure.

Reports said in 2015 the terror leader was seriously injured in a U.S.-led attack and some rumors suggested his death.

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