The world’s most wanted man in the world ISIS supremo, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, who may have been killed by a Russian airstrike on the southern suburb of Syria’s Raqqa is a very secretive man. He rarely, if ever, discloses his whereabouts and had thus gained the title of being the ”invisible sheikh”. Even while addressing comrades he appears in a mask. While the information of the commander’s death is still being verified, reports say that a number of high-ranking commanders of the Islamic State terrorist group, including 330 field commanders and militants, were killed by the Russia’s Aerospace Forces in the southern suburb of Syria’s Raqqa in late May.
The elusive Iraqi-born Baghdadi is the world’s most-wanted man and here we present 10 things you need to know about him:
- Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, 46, was born as Ibrahim al-Samarrai.
- He grew up in a religious family and studied Islamic Theology in Baghdad. 2003, the year US-led invasion of Iraq, Baghdadi joined Salaafi terrorist insurgency.
- Caught by the Americans, Baghdadi was released since they regarded him at that time as a civillian rather than a millitary target.
- He was brought up in a family which was divided between Saddam Hussein’s secular party and a religious clan.
- Baghdadi was seen last time in a public video where he is dressed in a black cleric robe and it shows him declaring his caliphate from a pulpit in Mosul.
- This is not the first time Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi has been romoured to have been killed or wounded, there has been many such instances prior to this where such claims where made.
- To track down Baghdadi, the US government has a joint task force which includes spy satellites National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, CIA and other US intelligence agencies.
- He has been nicknamed “The Ghost” as he has been reportedly spotted around the Syrian-Iraqi border but his whereabouts have never been confirmed.
- The most wanted leader of the ISIS does not use a phone. To contact his aides Iyad al-Obaidi and Ayad al-Jumaili he has a handful of apporoved couriers to communicate.
- The last sign of him being alive was in November 2016 when Iraqi forces launched their reconquest of Mosul.
UPDATE: On July 11, Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor said it had information from top Islamic State leaders confirming the death of the Baghdadi. “Top tier commanders from IS who are present in Deir Ezzor province have confirmed the death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, emir of the Islamic State group, to the Observatory,” director Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP. Rahman added that he learnt about the death on July 11 but the exat date and the way the terrorist died was not known.
(The article was first published on June 16.)