The terror group of Daesh has released a propaganda video purporting to show its ringleader Ibrahim al-Samarrai, aka Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, for the first time in five years.
The group released the 18-minute footage via one of its media networks on Monday allegedly showing him addressing a gathering of three. The authenticity of the footage could not be independently verified.
If authentic, however, the video would be the first one to be released of the terror mastermind since 2014. That year, he was filmed delivering a speech at a mosque in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul and claiming that the outfit had formed a so-called territory in the Arab country and neighboring Syria.
Al-Samarrai appeared in the first video only months after the group took on the countries and overran swathes of territory before enacting a rule, characterized with summary executions and other instances of brutal intolerance.
An Iraqi intelligence official says the Daesh leader lately sought to cross Syria into Iraq, but failed due to tight security measures at the border.
The new footage could not be dated either, but the person appearing to be al-Samarrai makes reference to bombings that left hundreds of people dead in Sri Lanka last week.
The speaker claims the coordinated attacks were Daesh’s revenge for the defeat it suffered recently in the eastern Syrian village of Baghouz.
"The battle for Baghouz is over," he says, adding that the group is engaged in a "battle of attrition" and would seek revenge for its jailed and killed terrorists. He also urges its elements based in East Africa to ratchet up their acts of terror.
Although, taking Baghdad and Damascus by surprise at first, the group began to suffer one defeat after another after the countries enlisted the assistance of their allies.
Russia began lending aerial support to Syria’s ground operations against the group in 2015. Iran has also been providing the Syrian and Iraqi militaries with advisory support.
The combined push led to Daesh’s defeat in late 2017.
Syrian army soldiers and their allies fully regain control over al-Bukamal city on the border with Iraq from Daesh Takfiri terrorists.
Around the same time, the US and the militants backed by it waged a massive onslaught against the northern Syrian city of Raqqah, which the outfit had called its capital, in a push suspected of being aimed at claiming victory for Daesh’s defeat, and heavily criticized for its indiscrimination.