ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi makes his first appearance in five years..
(photo credit: screenshot)
ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi has appeared on camera for the first time in five years - since the declaration of the Caliphate.
The Islamic State's propaganda outlet al-Furqan released the video on Monday evening.
The 47-year-old evasive leader was looking older, greyer, but relatively healthy in the video and he spoke for about 18 minutes discussing recent events that have befallen the Islamic State. The leaders' assault weapon was also purposely visible in the video.
Sitting around him were other members of ISIS who all have their faces covered.
During the video Al-Baghdadi mentions the Islamic caliphate after the battle for Baghouz - the final ISIS strong hold to have fallen in Syria. He began the speech making it clear that he is aware that the battle for Baghouz has ended and also called for revenge following its fall.
He also went on to speak about the end of the physical caliphate of the Islamic State and he praised the recent terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka, which targeted churches and hotels and left some 259 people dead and over 500 injured. He said that ISIS is now in a "war of attrition."
In 2015, it was reported that he was seriously wounded during an attack by the US-led coalition. He also suffers from diabetes and high blood pressure.
For some time, there were also rumors that Al-Baghdadi had been killed and that ISIS terrorists believed, as more and more defeats befell them, that their ideological leader had abandoned their cause.
Al-Baghdadi was last seen in a viral video in 2014 giving a sermon in the Great Mosque of al-Nuri, in Mosul, Iraq. This came just a month after Mosul fell into the hands of ISIS and the Iraqi army was defeated.
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