al-Baghdadi Likely Alive
In June, the Russian military said it might have killed Mr. Baghdadi in a strike on Islamic State leaders in May near Raqqa. It now may be possible for those reports to have been wrong as the Islamic State has issued a new 46-minute video recording of their leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
The video was likely released to shore up moral as ISIS has lost large amounts of its most prized territories, including Mosul, Iraq which had been the largest populated city under ISIS control.
In the recording, Mr. Baghdadi praised his soldiers for waging battle in Mosul and commented recent attacks in London and Barcelona. Further indicating that this video could be legitimate.
He also accused the American-backed troops they faced of using scorched-earth tactics. “They burned the people, trees, and everything on the ground,” he said, according to a translation provided by the SITE Intelligence Group.
Mr. Baghdadi, 46, emphasized the threat the West still faces from the Islamic State.
“Now the Americans, the Russians and the Europeans are living in terror in their countries, fearing the strikes of the mujahedeen,” he said.
Continued Expansion and Extremism
Even as the group has lost territory in one area it has retaken areas that were declared liberated and pushed into new parts of the world.
In recent weeks, they have emerged in Libya, and the group continues to hold parts of the city of Marawi, in the Philippines, despite a four-month-long siege by the country’s military.
The organization has also continued to become more extreme as many of its easiest to use sources of funding and manpower have become drained. For example now releasing a video of child suicide soldier performing an attack in eastern Syria.