A man purported to be the reclusive leader of the militant Islamic State Abu Bakr al Baghdadi made a rare public appearance at a mosque in the center of Mosul, on July 5, 2014..
All senior leaders of Islamic State (ISIS) reportedly must gather in Iraq in order to choose a potential successor for the organization's current leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
A Syrian human rights organization based in London citing informed sources said that ISIS leadership in Iraq demanded all leaders gather, including those based in Syria, such as the army commander of greater Syria and Raqqa.
The Syrian organization for human rights has been considered a reliable source for information about the Islamic State and was one of the first organizations to report the assassinations of several prominent ISIS leaders, most of whom were killed in coalition air attacks.
It remains unclear why the organization is searching for a successor to Baghdadi. While some speculate that the leader was killed in a Mosul offensive which started in October
, some believe the leader is alive but in mortal danger.
Just one month ago the leader called on organization members to "fight the enemies of God," destroy infidels and invade Turkish cities.
Two weeks after the Mosul offensive started, a 31-minute audio recording was published by "Al-Furkan" under the title "This is what Allah and his messenger promised us." The recording featured Baghdadi addressing those in Mosul, warning them not to retreat or attempt to escape the battle.
"Total war and the greater jihad waged by the Islamic State today, with Allah's help, amplifies the strong belief that everything is dedicated to the great victory," Baghdadi said. "It is a sign heralding the victory promised to Allah's followers."
He also warned that "Jews, Christians and Shi'ites" had put money into fighting ISIS after they saw that it was one of the "bases of Islam."
The leader also attempted to appeal to Iraq's Sunnis stating that Shi'ites had invaded their country and were killing men and women.
Reports have circulated for the past year that the Islamic State leader was no longer in charge of the organization.
ISIS tries to obstruct Mosul Operation by lighting oil in trenche
However, in November,
a high-level Kurdish dignitary said that there is information that Baghdadi is still alive and well in the besieged city of Mosul.
Haim Isrovitch contributed to this report.
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