IS ‘leader’ al-Baghdadi appears in first video in five years

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who has not been seen on camera since 2014, vows revenge for his militants.

The Islamic State group has released a video of a man it says is its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, vowing to seek revenge for its loss of territory.

He has not been seen since 2014, when he proclaimed from Mosul the creation of a “caliphate” across parts of Syria and Iraq.

In this new footage, Baghdadi acknowledges defeat at Baghuz, the group’s last stronghold in the region.

It is not clear when the video was recorded. IS says it was shot in April.

The footage was posted on the militant group’s al-Furqan media network.

A US State Department spokesman said the tapes would be inspected by analysts to ascertain their authenticity, adding that the US-led coalition remains committed to ensuring any IS “leaders who remain are delivered the justice that they deserve”.

What does he say?

Baghdadi says the Easter Sunday Sri Lanka attacks were carried out as revenge for the fall of the Iraqi town of Baghuz.

The BBC’s Mina al-Lami points out initial IS claims regarding the Sri Lanka attacks make no reference to the town.

He also says that he has had pledges of allegiance from militants in Burkina Faso and Mali, and talks about the protests in Sudan and Algeria – claiming that jihad is the only solution to “tyrants”. Both countries have seen their long-term rulers overthrown this month.

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