Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi
Born: 28 July 1971;
Place of Birth: Samarra, Iraq;
Religion: Sunni Islam;
Rank: Leader of ISIL;
Al-Baghdadi, born as Ibrahim Awad Ibrahim al-Badri (full name: Ibrahim Awwad Ibrahim Ali Muhammad al-Badri al-Samarrai) is the leader of the Sunni militant jihadist organisation known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, which controls territory in western Iraq, Syria, Libya and Afghanistan.
In June 2014 he was elected by the majlis al-shura (consultative council or Shura council), representing the ahl al-hall wal-aqd (its people of authority) of the Islamic State, to be their caliph (which he claims to be).
He has been accused of kidnapping, enslaving, and repeatedly raping an American citizen who was later killed.
The Islamic State of Iraq (ISI), also known as al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), was the Iraqi division of al-Qaeda. Al-Baghdadi was announced as leader of the ISI on 16 May 2010, following the death of his predecessor Abu Omar al-Baghdadi.
As leader of the ISI, al-Baghdadi was responsible for masterminding large-scale operations such as the 28 August 2011 suicide bombing at the Umm al-Qura Mosque in Baghdad, which killed prominent Sunni lawmaker Khalid al-Fahdawi.
Between March and April 2011, the ISI claimed 23 attacks south of Baghdad, all allegedly carried out under al-Baghdadi’s command.
Following the death of founder and head of al-Qaida, Osama bin Laden, on 2 May 2011, in Abbottabad, Pakistan, al-Baghdadi released a statement praising bin Laden and threatening violent retaliation for his death.
On 5 May 2011, al-Baghdadi claimed responsibility for an attack in Hilla, 100 kilometres south of Baghdad, that killed 24 policemen and wounded 72 others.
On 15 August 2011, a wave of ISI suicide attacks beginning in Mosul resulted in 70 deaths. ISI pledged on its website to carry out 100 attacks across Iraq featuring various methods of attack, including raids, suicide attacks, roadside bombs and small arms attacks, in all cities and rural areas across the country.
On 22 December 2011, a series of coordinated car bombings and improvised explosive device attacks struck over a dozen neighborhoods across Baghdad, killing at least 63 people and wounding 180. On 26 December, the ISI released a statement on jihadist internet forums claiming credit for the operation, stating that the targets of the Baghdad attack were “accurately surveyed and explored” and that the “operations were distributed between targeting security headquarters, military patrols and gatherings of the filthy ones of the al-Dajjal Army (the Army of the Anti-Christ in Arabic)”, referring to the Mahdi Army of Shia warlord Muqtada al-Sadr.
Al-Baghdadi remained leader of the ISI until its formal expansion into Syria in 2013 when, in a statement on 8 April 2013, he announced the formation of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) – alternatively translated from the Arabic as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
On 29 June 2014, ISIL announced the establishment of a worldwide caliphate. Al-Baghdadi was named its caliph, to be known as “Caliph Ibrahim”, and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant was renamed the Islamic State (IS). ISIS use a version of the Muslim Black Standard flag and developed an emblem which has clear symbolic meaning in the Muslim world.
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