An image grab taken from a video released on July 5, 2014 by Al-Furqan Media shows alleged Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi preaching during Friday prayer at a mosque in Mosul.(Photo by Al-Furqan Media/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Photo: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
Photo: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Who is al-Baghdadi and why is he one of the most wanted men in the world?

Update 1:53 p.m. ET April 29, 2019:  Abu-Bakr al-Baghdadi appeared for the first time in five years in a video released by Isis, acknowledging the defeat of the group in Syria but vowing a "long battle" ahead, The Associated Press reported.

According to AP, the SITE Intelligence group said al-Baghdadi, in the video, also discussed the Easter Day bombings in Sri Lanka which killed over 250 people and for which the group claimed responsibility.

Original story: 

Russian authorities are reporting that they killed Islamic State leader Ibrahim Abu-Bakr al-Baghdadi in an airstrike in late May.

The reports of his death have not been confirmed, as stories of al-Baghdadi’s death have been reported several times before and proven to be untrue. According to the Telegraph, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights issued a statement saying al-Baghdadi was in a different part of Syria when the Raqqa meeting was attacked.

Who is al-Baghdadi and what has made him one of the most wanted men in the world? Here’s a look at the leader of ISIS.

1. The man known as Ibrahim Abu-Bakr al-Baghdadi is believed to have been born Ibrahim Awad Ibrahim al-Badri. 

2. He is 45 years old – he was born on July 28, 1971, near Samarra, Iraq. Samarra is north of Baghdad.

3. He is believed to have earned bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees from Baghdad University.

4. He was a cleric in a mosque in Samarra when the United States invaded Iraq in 2003.

5. He is believed to have been a jihadist in Iraq at that time.

6. He was captured by U.S. forces on Feb. 2, 2004, near Fallujah in Iraq, and was held at Abu Ghraib and Camp Bucca, U.S. detention facilities in Iraq.

>>ISIS primer: What is a caliphate?

7. He rose to leadership of the Iraqi branch of al-Qaeda in 2010. Around 2013, that branch of al-Qaeda became the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, and al-Baghdadi became its leader.

8. In 2014, al-Baghdadi declared a caliphate after his troops captured the Syrian city of Mosul.

9. al-Baghdadi is believed to have three wives - two Iraqi and one from Syria. Two other women may have been married to him at some time. He is believed to have a son and a daughter.

10. The United States has offered $25 million for information leading to his capture or his death.

Thank you for reading the Springfield News-Sun and for supporting local journalism. Subscribers: log in for access to your daily ePaper and premium newsletters.

Thank you for supporting in-depth local journalism with your subscription to the Springfield News-Sun. Get more news when you want it with email newsletters just for subscribers. Sign up here.