A man believed to be the leader of the Islamic State group has made a rare camera appearance vowing to seek revenge for its loss of territory.
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has not been seen since 2014, when he proclaimed from Mosul the creation of a “caliphate” across parts of Syria and Iraq.
In the new footage, posted on the group’s al-Furqan media network, he acknowledges defeat at Baghuz, the group’s last stronghold. IS says it was shot in April.
According to Reuters, Baghdadi says the Easter Sunday Sri Lanka attacks were carried out as revenge for the fall of the Iraqi town of Baghuz.
He also says that he has had pledges of allegiance from militants in Burkina Faso and Mali, and talks about the protests in Sudan and Algeria – claiming that jihad is the only solution to “tyrants”. Both countries have seen their rulers overthrown this month.