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IS leader al-Baghdadi appears in new video

April 29, 2019

For the first time in five years, the leader of IS has appeared on video. He talks about recent incidents, including the fall of Baghouz last month, and praises the Sri Lanka attacks.

This image made from video posted on a militant website on Monday, April 29, 2019, purports to show the leader of the Islamic State group, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, being interviewed by his group's Al-Furqan media outlet.
Image: picture-alliance/AP Photo/Al-Furqan

The leader of the Islamic State group, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, appeared in new video published by the Islamist terror group on Monday.

In the 18-minute clip, a bearded man is seen sitting in casual conversation with three other people, whose faces are blurred.

He discusses recent events, including the battle for Baghouz ending. IS was defeated there last month. He also praises the Sri Lanka attacks earlier this month, although only his audio is heard in that section.

The video was published by the network's al-Furqan media group on messaging service Telegram and initially picked up by the SITE intelligence group.

Read more: Who is the 'Islamic State' leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi?

In the video, he says the Easter attacks in Sri Lanka were revenge for IS' defeat in Baghouz, the group's last stronghold in Syria. 

"Your brothers in Sri Lanka have healed the hearts of monotheist Islamic State members with their suicide bombings, which shook the beds of the crusader Christians during Easter to avenge your brothers in Baghouz," he said.

"This is part of the revenge waiting for the crusaders."

It is the first time he has appeared on video since he declared a caliphate in Syria and Iraq five years ago. However it is unclear when or where the video was filmed. Text at the start of the video dates it to earlier in April.

Russia claimed to have killed Baghdadi in a 2017 airstrike, but this claim was rejected by the US and proved doubtful by the release of a subsequent audio clip.

He took leadership of IS in 2010 following the assassination of Abu Omar al-Baghdadi (no relation), who led the group since its formation in 2006.

aw/amp (AFP, Reuters, AP)

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