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London, April 30: A man, appearing to be the Islamic State leader’s Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi, has appeared in a video posted on the terror group’s media network, vowing more attacks in revenge for loss of the “caliphate’s territory”, reports said on Monday.

In the video, Baghdadi, who has not been seen after announcing the “caliphate” across his group’s conquered parts of Syria and Iraq in 2014, admits defeat at the group’s last stronghold in Syria and refers to the regime changes in Algeria and Sudan where long-time rulers have been forced to step down, the BBC reported.

The video also mentions the Easter Sunday carnage in Sri Lanka – which the IS has claimed responsibility for, but in audio form towards the end of the video with no image of Baghdadi alongside, which indicates it might have been added later.

The 18-minute video, which IS says was shot this month, was posted on the group’s al-Furqan media network.

“The battle for Baghouz is over,” says Baghdadi, an 47-year-old Iraqi whose real name is Ibrahim Awwad Ibrahim al-Badri and was last heard in an audio recording last August, says in the video, referring to the group’s last territory in violence-torn Syria which the Kurdish militia claimed to have re-captured.

“There will be more to come after this battle,” he is heard saying.

Earlier , in August 2018, IS terror group had released what it says is a new audio message from its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, for the first time in almost a year, a media report said on Thursday.

In the message published by IS’ media wing al-Furqan on Wednesday, the man admits that IS groups were losing and that it was a test from Allah, saying they needed to stick together, CNN reported.

The man says his followers were being tested with “fear and hunger” but says “glad tidings” will be given to those who “patiently persevere”.

The speaker also makes reference to recent events, including tensions between the US and Turkey. He also says that Russia and Iran were seeking to revolt against sanctions and avoid a similar situation to North Korea.

America is using “the gang policy” and it is a “sign of weakness”, the man says.

However, the voice on the recording has not been confirmed to be al-Baghdadi’s. The recording runs for about 55 minutes.

If it is from Baghdadi, this is the first audio message from him to be released since the fall of Raqqa in October 2017, as IS-held land in Syria continues to dwindle.

“US Central Command is aware of the alleged audio recording,” CNN quoted Central Command spokesperson Capt. William Urban said.

“I am not going to comment on our assessment of the recording. We do not know where Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is at this time, but he continues to be someone that we are interested in removing from the battlefield.

“I do not believe that any official US government source has ever claimed that he is dead.”

Urban said that US officials believe that the IS leader is still alive.

Baghdadi has made only one public appearance, in July 2014, in the al-Nuri Mosque in Mosul, which was retaken by Iraqi security forces in June 2017.

IS has since released various audio messages that it claims are from Baghdadi — most recently, one in September 2017 that appeared to make reference to news events that happened after Russia claimed he was dead.


Photo: Google