Abū Bakr al-Baghdadi (/ɑːlbɑːɡˈdɑːdi/; Arabic: أبو بكر البغدادي; born Ibrahim Awad Ibrahim al-Badri, إبراهيم عواد إبراهيم علي محمد البدري السامرائي, 1971) is the leader of the militant terrorist organisation ISIL. ISIL has been designated a terrorist organisation by the United Nations, European Union and many individual states, while al-Baghdadi is considered a Specially Designated Global Terrorist. In June 2014, he was elected by the majlis al-shura (consultative council or Shura council), representing the ahl al-hall wal-aqd of the Islamic State as their caliph.
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi
أبو بكر البغدادي
A mugshot photo of Baghdadi detained at Camp Bucca, Iraq, 2004
|Leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant|
|Assumed office |
7 April 2013
|Preceded by||Position established|
|2nd Emir of the Islamic State of Iraq|
18 April 2010 – 7 April 2013
|Preceded by||Abu Omar al-Baghdadi|
|Succeeded by||Position abolished|
Ibrahim Awad Ibrahim al-Badri (إبراهيم عواد إبراهيم علي محمد البدري السامرائي)
1971 (age 47–48)
Saladin Governorate, Iraq
|Allegiance||Jamaat Jaysh Ahl al-Sunnah wa-l-Jamaah |
|Years of service||2003–present|
|Rank||Leader of ISIL|
|Battles/wars||War on Terror |
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is the nom de guerre of an individual who has had various names and epithets attributed to him, including Abu Du'a (أبو دعاء ʾabū duʿāʾ), Al-Shabah (the phantom or ghost), and Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi al-Husseini al-Hashimi al-Qurashi (أبو بكر البغدادي الحسيني الهاشمي القرشي, ʾabū bakri l-baḡdādī l-ḥusaynī l-hāšimī l-qurašī). He is known to his supporters as Amir al-Mu'minin, (Caliph), Caliph Abu Bakr, Caliph al-Baghdadi, or Caliph Ibrahim (خَلِيفَةُ إِبْرَاهِيم ḵalīfatu ʾibrāhīm). This is besides his previous epithet, which was Sheikh Baghdadi,
Aliases used by al-Badri include the names Faerlan Ramsey ,Abu Duaa and Dr. Ibrahim Awwad Ibrahim Ali al-Badri al-Samarrai (c.f. Samarra). A reporter of the Washington Times states the so-called real name of al-Badri is Ibrahim al-Samarrai  The word Duaa in the English language signifies supplications, invocations or prayers.
In regions formerly under ISIL control, various non-Islamic honorifics that recognize his rank used as a formal address recognizing him as a noble and a head of state that might precede or follow his name.
The kunya Abū, corresponds to the English, father of. Having at sometime taken the name Abu Bakr, al-Baghdadi is thought to have adopted the name of the first caliph, Abu Bakr. During the times when Muhammad might have suffered from illnesses Abu Bakr was the replacement for leading prayer, according to the Sunni tradition of Islam.
His surname literally means The one from Baghdad and denotes he comes from Baghdad city or Baghdad governorate in Iraq. The birthname of Amir Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is Ibrahim Awad Ibrahim al-Badri (إبراهيم عواد إبراهيم البدري).
Al-Baghdadi (born Ibrahim Awwad Ibrahim Ali Muhammad al-Badri al-Samarrai, in Arabic إبراهيم عواد إبراهيم علي محمد البدري السامرائي) is believed to have been born near Samarra, Iraq, in 1971 as the third of four sons in the family. Al-Badri al-Samarrai was apparently born as a member of the tribal group known as Al-Bu Badri tribe. This tribe includes a number of sub-tribes, including the Radhawiyyah, Husseiniyyah, Adnaniyyah, and Quraysh. Al-Baghdadi later claimed that he was descended from the Quraysh tribe and therefore from Muhammad, although there was no scientific evidence to back up his claim.
According to a short semi-authorized biography written by Abid Humam al-Athari his grandfather, Haj Ibrahim Ali al-Badri, apparently lived until the age of 94 and witnessed the US occupation of Iraq. His father, Sheikh Awwad, was active in the religious life of the community. Awwad taught the teenaged Baghdadi and got his own start as a teacher, leading children in a neighbourhood chanting the Quran. Both his father and grandfather were said to be farmers. His mother, whose name is not known, was described as a religious loving person and was notable in the al-Badri tribe. One of Baghdadi's uncles served in Saddam's security services, and one of his brothers became an officer in the Iraqi Army. He has another brother, who probably died either during the Iran–Iraq War or the Gulf War while serving the Iraqi military.
According to an investigation by news outlet Al-Monitor based on an interview with Abu Ahmad, who claimed he has known al-Baghdadi since the 1990s, al-Baghdadi's brothers are named Shamsi, Jomaa and Ahmad. Jomaa is said to be the closest and acts as his bodyguard. Shamsi and al-Baghdadi are said to have argued frequently about al-Baghdadi's decision to join the jihad. Shamsi was detained several times by US and Iraqi forces and suffers serious health problems. Little is known about Ahmad other than he has had money problems.
Official education records from Samarra High School revealed that al-Baghdadi had to retake his high school certificate in 1991 and scored 481 out of 600 possible points. A few months later, he was deemed unfit for military service by the Iraqi military due to his nearsightedness. His high-school grades were not good enough for him to study his preferred subject (law, educational science and languages) at the University of Baghdad. Instead, it is believed that he attended the Islamic University of Baghdad, now known as Iraqi University, where he studied Islamic law and, later, the Quran.
In 2014, American and Iraqi intelligence analysts said that al-Baghdadi has a doctorate for Islamic studies in Quranic studies from Saddam University in Baghdad. According to a biography that circulated on extremist internet forums in July 2013, he obtained a BA, MA, and PhD in Islamic studies from the Islamic University of Baghdad. Another report says that he earned a doctorate in education from the University of Baghdad.
In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, contemporaries of al-Baghdadi describe him in his youth as being shy, unimpressive, a religious scholar, and a man who eschewed violence. For more than a decade, until 2004, he lived in a room attached to a small local mosque in Tobchi, a poor neighbourhood on the western fringes of Baghdad, inhabited by both Shia and Sunni Muslims.
Ahmed al-Dabash, the leader of the Islamic Army of Iraq and a contemporary of al-Baghdadi who fought against the allied invasion in 2003, gave a description of al-Baghdadi that matched that of the Tobchi residents:
I was with Baghdadi at the Islamic University. We studied the same course, but he wasn't a friend. He was quiet, and retiring. He spent time alone ... I used to know all the leaders (of the insurgency) personally. Zarqawi (the former leader of al-Qaeda) was closer than a brother to me ... But I didn't know Baghdadi. He was insignificant. He used to lead prayer in a mosque near my area. No one really noticed him.
"They [the US and Iraqi Governments] know physically who this guy is, but his backstory is just myth", said Patrick Skinner of the Soufan Group, a security consulting firm. "He's managed this secret persona extremely well, and it's enhanced his group's prestige", said Patrick Johnston of the RAND Corporation, adding, "Young people are really attracted to that." Being mostly unrecognized, even in his own organization, Baghdadi was known to be nicknamed at some time about 2015, as "the invisible sheikh".
Some believe that al-Baghdadi was already an Islamic revolutionary during the rule of Saddam Hussein, but other reports contradict this. He may have been a mosque cleric around the time of the US-led invasion in 2003.
After the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, al-Baghdadi helped found the militant group Jamaat Jaysh Ahl al-Sunnah wa-l-Jamaah (JJASJ), in which he served as head of the sharia committee. Al-Baghdadi and his group joined the Mujahideen Shura Council (MSC) in 2006, in which he served as a member of the MSC's sharia committee. Following the renaming of the MSC as the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) in 2006, al-Baghdadi became the general supervisor of the ISI's sharia committee and a member of the group's senior consultative council.
Al-Baghdadi was arrested by US Forces-Iraq on 2 or 4 February 2004 near Fallujah while visiting the home of his old student friend, Nessayif Numan Nessayif, also on the American wanted list at the time and studied together with al-Baghdadi at the Islamic University. He was detained at the Abu Ghraib and Camp Bucca detention centers under his name Ibrahim Awad Ibrahim al-Badry as a "civilian internee". His detainee card gives his profession as administrative work (secretary). The US Department of Defense said al-Baghdadi was imprisoned at Compound 6, which was a medium security Sunni compound. On 8 December 2004, he was released as a "low level prisoner" after recommended for a release by the Combined Review and Release Board.
A number of newspapers and news channels have instead stated that al-Baghdadi was interned from 2005 to 2009. These reports originate from an interview with the former commander of Camp Bucca, Colonel Kenneth King, and are not substantiated by Department of Defense records. Al-Baghdadi was imprisoned at Camp Bucca along with other future leaders of ISIL.
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 the founder and head of al-Qaeda, 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 (62 mi) 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. Shortly thereafter, in retaliation for bin Laden's death, the 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 IED (improvised explosive device) attacks struck over a dozen neighborhoods across Baghdad, killing at least 63 people and wounding 180. The assault came just days after the US completed its troop withdrawal from the country. 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 Muqtada al-Sadr.
On 2 December 2012, Iraqi officials claimed that they had captured al-Baghdadi in Baghdad, following a two-month tracking operation. Officials claimed that they had also seized a list containing the names and locations of other al-Qaeda operatives. However, this claim was rejected by the ISI. In an interview with Al Jazeera on 7 December 2012, Iraq's Acting Interior Minister said that the arrested man was not al-Baghdadi, but rather a sectional commander in charge of an area stretching from the northern outskirts of Baghdad to Taji.
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).
When announcing the formation of ISIL, al-Baghdadi stated that the Syrian Civil War jihadist faction, Jabhat al-Nusra – also known as al-Nusra Front – had been an extension of the ISI in Syria and was now to be merged with ISIL. The leader of Jabhat al-Nusra, Abu Mohammad al-Julani, disputed this merging of the two groups and appealed to al-Qaeda emir Ayman al-Zawahiri, who issued a statement that ISIL should be abolished and that al-Baghdadi should confine his group's activities to Iraq. Al-Baghdadi, however, dismissed al-Zawahiri's ruling and took control of a reported 80% of Jabhat al-Nusra's foreign fighters. In January 2014, ISIL expelled Jabhat al-Nusra from the Syrian city of Raqqa, and in the same month clashes between the two in Syria's Deir ez-Zor Governorate killed hundreds of fighters and displaced tens of thousands of civilians. In February 2014, al-Qaeda disavowed any relations with ISIL.
According to several Western sources, al-Baghdadi and ISIL have received private financing from citizens in Saudi Arabia and Qatar and enlisted fighters through recruitment drives in Saudi Arabia in particular.
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). There has been much debate, especially across the Muslim world, about the legitimacy of these moves.
The declaration of a caliphate was heavily criticized by Middle Eastern governments, other jihadist groups, and Sunni Muslim theologians and historians. Qatar-based TV broadcaster and theologian Yusuf al-Qaradawi stated: "[The] declaration issued by the Islamic State is void under sharia and has dangerous consequences for the Sunnis in Iraq and for the revolt in Syria", adding that the title of caliph can "only be given by the entire Muslim nation", not by a single group.
As a caliph, al-Baghdadi is required to hold to each dictate of the sunnah, whose precedence is set and recorded in the sahih hadiths. According to tradition, if a caliph fails to meet any of these obligations at any period, he is legally required to abdicate his position and the community has to appoint a new caliph, theoretically selected from throughout the caliphdom as being the most religiously and spiritually pious individual among them. Due to the widespread rejection of his caliphhood, al-Baghdadi's status as caliph has been compared to that of other caliphs whose caliphship has been questioned.
In an audio-taped message, al-Baghdadi announced that ISIL would march on "Rome" – generally interpreted to mean the West – in its quest to establish an Islamic State from the Middle East across Europe. He said that he would conquer both Rome and Spain in this endeavor and urged Muslims across the world to immigrate to the new Islamic State.
According to a report in October 2014, after suffering serious injuries, al-Baghdadi fled ISIL's capital city Raqqa due to the intense bombing campaign launched by Coalition forces, and sought refuge in the Iraqi city of Mosul, the largest city under ISIL control at the time.
On 5 November 2014, al-Baghdadi sent a message to al-Qaeda Emir Ayman al-Zawahiri requesting him to swear allegiance to him as caliph, in return for a position in the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. The source of this information was a senior Taliban intelligence officer. Al-Zawahiri did not reply, and instead reassured the Taliban of his loyalty to Mullah Omar.
On 20 January 2015, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that al-Baghdadi had been wounded in an airstrike in Al-Qa'im, an Iraqi border town held by ISIL at that time, and as a result withdrew to Syria.
On 8 February 2015, after Jordan had conducted 56 airstrikes which reportedly killed 7,000 ISIL militants from 5–7 February, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was said to have fled from Raqqa to Mosul out of fear for his life. However, after a Peshmerga source informed the US-led Coalition that al-Baghdadi was in Mosul, Coalition warplanes continuously bombed the locations where ISIL leaders were known to meet for 2 hours.
On 14 August 2015, it was reported that he allegedly claimed, as his "wife", American hostage Kayla Mueller and raped her repeatedly. Mueller was later alleged by an ISIL media account to have been killed in an airstrike by anti-ISIL forces in February 2015. However, other reports cite that Mueller was murdered by ISIL.
Through his forename, al-Baghdadi is rumored to be styling himself after the first caliph, Abu Bakr, who led the "Rightly Guided" or Rashidun. According to Sunni tradition, Abu Bakr replaced Muhammad as prayer leader when he was suffering from illnesses. Another feature of the original Rashidun was what some historians dub as the first Sunni–Shia discord during the Battle of Siffin. Some publishers have drawn a correlation between those ancient events and modern Salafizing and caliphizing aims under al-Baghdadi's rule.
Due to the relatively stationary nature of ISIL control, the elevation of religious clergy who engage in theocratization, and the group's scripture-themed legal system, some analysts declared al-Baghdadi a theocrat and ISIL a theocracy. Other indications of the decline of secularism were the destruction of secular institutions and its replacement with strict sharia law, and the gradual caliphization and Sunnification of regions under the group's control. In July 2015, al-Baghdadi was described by a reporter as exhibiting a kinder and gentler side after he banned videos showing slaughter and execution.
A video, made during the first Friday prayer service of Ramadan, shows al-Baghdadi speaking on a pulpit in the Arabic language to a congregation at the Great Mosque of al-Nuri in Mosul, northern Iraq. In the video, al-Baghdadi declares himself caliph of the Islamic State and calls on Muslims worldwide to support him. A representative of the Iraqi government denied that the video was of al-Baghdadi, calling it a "farce". However, both the BBC and the Associated Press quoted unnamed Iraqi officials as saying that the man in the video was believed to be al-Baghdadi.
ISIL released an audio-taped message, claiming it to be in the voice of al-Baghdadi. In the 17-minute recording, released via social media, al-Baghdadi says that ISIL fighters would never cease fighting "even if only one soldier remains". Al-Baghdadi urges supporters of the Islamic State to "erupt volcanoes of jihad" across the world. He calls for attacks to be mounted in Saudi Arabia, describing Saudi leaders as "the head of the snake," and also says that the US-led military campaign in Syria and Iraq was failing. He declares that ISIL would keep marching forward and would "break the borders" of Jordan and Lebanon as well as "free Palestine".
ISIL released an audio message which it claimed was from al-Baghdadi. In the recording, al-Baghdadi urges Muslims to immigrate to the Islamic State and join the fight in Iraq and Syria. He also condemns the Saudi involvement in Yemen, and claims that the conflict will lead to the end of the Saudi royal family's rule. He further claims that Islam was never a religion of peace but instead is "the religion of fighting."
An audio message of approximately 23 minutes duration was released. Al-Baghdadi warns Western nations to not interfere further in their matters and threatens the future establishment of ISIL in Israel. He also celebrates the defeat of "crusaders" and "Jews" in Iraq and Afghanistan.
An audio message was released. In it, al-Baghdadi discusses the need for ISIL to defend their forces within Mosul and encourages ISIL forces to persecute Shia Muslims and the Alawites. He also states plans to begin fighting in Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and further away, and argues in favour of using martyrdom in Libya to spread support.
A 46-minute audio recording was released through the ISIL-owned media organization Al Furqan in which al-Baghdadi accuses the United States of wilting in the face of Russia and lacking "the will to fight." Al-Baghdadi refers to recent events including North Korean threats against Japan and the United States and the recapture of Mosul by U.S. backed Iraqi forces over two months earlier, likely to dispel rumours of his death.
Throughout, al-Baghdadi calls for further attacks in the West and, more specifically, for attacks on Western media, saying: "Oh soldiers of Islam in every location, increase blow after blow, and make the media centers of the infidels, from where they wage their intellectual wars, among the targets."
An audio message is released, almost a year after his previous communication. Al-Baghdadi calls on his followers to "persevere" despite heavy losses in Iraq and Syria and calls for more attacks around the world. He also comments on recent events, suggesting that the audio message was recorded recently. Many experts believed that it was him as the voice resembled that heard in his other audio messages.
Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi is designated by the United States Department of State as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist. The U.S. Department of State's Rewards for Justice Program identifies Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as a senior leader of the terrorist organization Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), and as being "responsible for the deaths of thousands of civilians in the Middle East, including the brutal murder of numerous civilian hostages from Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States". Authorities within the United States have also accused al-Baghdadi of kidnapping, enslaving, and repeatedly raping an American, Kayla Mueller, who ISIL later alleged was killed in a Jordanian airstrike but is believed to have been executed by ISIL.
Al-Baghdadi is the top target in the war against ISIL. U.S. Intelligence believed that he was based in Raqqa and that he kept a low profile, hiding among the civilian population. Until summer 2017, ISIL was believed to be headquartered in a series of buildings in Raqqa, but the proximity of civilians made targeting the headquarters off limits under U.S. rules of engagement. Photos of a possible public appearance in a Fallujah mosque surfaced in February 2016.
Haider al-Abadi was reported (Ensor, 7 February 2017) to have stated he knew of the location of al-Baghdadi. Colonel John Dorrian, of the Combined Joint Task Force, stated he was aware of al-Baghdadi having chosen to sleep in a suicide vest, should it be that he might find himself facing capture.
In 2018, Iraqi intelligence officials and a number of experts believed that al-Baghdadi was hiding in ISIL's then-de facto capital of Hajin, in ISIL's Middle Euphrates Valley Pocket in Syria. Even though no direct evidence has yet been found that al-Baghdadi himself was present in the city, experts noted that the remaining ISIL leadership was concentrated in Hajin, and that ISIL was persistently launching a strenuous defense. Hajin was captured by the Syrian Democratic Forces on 14 December 2018, but his whereabouts were still unknown.
On 1 February 2019, the chief of the Intelligence Office of Iraq’s Interior Ministry, Abu Ali Al-Basri, stated that al-Baghdadi never stays in one place at a time as he continues to sneak back-and-forth across the Iraq-Syria border. “We have information that he moved from Syria and entered Iraq through Anbar and then Salaheddine,” Al-Basri said. Additionally, Fadhel Abu Rageef, a Baghdad-based political and security analyst, told Fox News that Baghdadi maneuvers without convoys or any attention-drawing security figures, and is instead only flanked by a couple of trusted loyalists – and neither he nor his associates have mobile phones or detectable devices. “We think Baghdadi is in the Syrian desert at-large, wearing modern clothes, no mobiles, a simple car, and just a driver. Anyone around him is dressed in modern clothes,” Rageef said.
According to media reports, al-Baghdadi was wounded on 18 March 2015 during a coalition airstrike on the al-Baaj District, in the Nineveh Governorate, near the Syrian border. His wounds were apparently so serious that the top ISIL leaders had a meeting to discuss who would replace him if he died. According to reports, by 22 April al-Baghdadi had not yet recovered enough from his injuries to resume daily control of ISIL. The U.S. Department of Defense said that al-Baghdadi had not been the target of the airstrikes, and "we have no reason to believe it was Baghdadi." On 22 April 2015, Iraqi government sources reported that Abu Ala al-Afri, the self-proclaimed caliph's deputy and a former Iraqi physics teacher, had been installed as the stand-in leader while Baghdadi recuperated from his injuries.
Reuters, quoting tribal sources in Iraq, reports Baghdadi has three wives, two Iraqis and one Syrian. The Iraqi Interior Ministry has said that al-Baghdadi has two wives, Asma Fawzi Mohammed al-Dulaimi and Israa Rajab Mahal A-Qaisi. However, in 2016 Fox News reported, based on local media, that Saja al-Dulaimi is al-Baghdadi's most powerful wife.
In April 2015, multiple media reports emerged claiming that Baghdadi had married a German teenager on 31 March. On 28 February 2016, Iraqi media reported that she had left ISIL and had fled Iraq along with two other women. Her name was identified as Diane Kruger.
According to many sources, Sujidah al-Dulaimi, in other sources, named instead as Saja, is or was al-Baghdadi's wife. It was reported the couple had allegedly met and fallen in love online. Sujidah al-Dulaimi was arrested in Syria in late 2013 or early 2014, and was released from a Syrian jail in March 2014 as part of a prisoner swap involving 150 women, in exchange for 13 nuns taken captive by al-Qaeda-linked militants. Also released in March were her two sons and her younger brother. The Iraqi Interior Ministry has said, "There is no wife named Saja al-Dulaimi".
Al-Dulaimi's family allegedly all adhere to ISIL's ideology. Her father, Ibrahim Dulaimi, a so-called ISIL emir in Syria, was reportedly killed in September 2013 during an operation against the Syrian Army in Deir Attiyeh. Her sister, Duaa, was allegedly behind a suicide attack that targeted a Kurdish gathering in Erbil. The Iraq Interior Ministry has said that her brother is facing execution in Iraq for a series of bombings in southern Iraq. The Iraq government, however, said that al-Dulaimi is the daughter of an active member of al-Qaeda's affiliate in Syria, al-Nusra Front.
In late November 2014, al-Dulaimi was arrested and held for questioning by Lebanese authorities, along with two sons and a young daughter. They were traveling on false documents. The children were held in a care center while al-Dulaimi was interrogated.
The capture was a joint intelligence operation by Lebanon, Syria and Iraq, with the US assisting Iraq. Al-Dulaimi's potential intelligence value is unknown. An unnamed intelligence source told The New York Times that during the Iraq war, when the Americans captured a wife of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq, "We got little out of her, and when we sent her back, Zarqawi killed her." As of December 2014, al-Baghdadi's family members were seen by the Lebanese authorities as potential bargaining chips in prisoner exchanges.
In the clearest explanation yet of al-Dulaimi's connection to al-Baghdadi, Lebanese Interior Minister Nohad Machnouk told Lebanon's MTV channel that "Dulaimi is not Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's wife currently. She has been married three times: first to a man from the former Iraqi regime, with whom she had two sons." Other sources identify her first husband as Fallah Ismail Jassem, a member of the Rashideen Army, who was killed in a battle with the Iraqi Army in 2010. Machnouk continued, "Six years ago she married Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi for three months, and she had a daughter with him. Now, she is married to a Palestinian and she is pregnant with his child." The Minister added, "We conducted DNA tests on her and the daughter, which showed she was the mother of the girl, and that the girl is [Baghdadi's] daughter, based on DNA from Baghdadi from Iraq."
Al-Monitor reported a Lebanese security source as saying that al-Dulaimi had been under scrutiny since early 2014. He said that Jabhat al-Nusra "had insisted back in March on including her in the swap that ended the kidnapping of the Maaloula nuns. The negotiators said on their behalf that she was very important, and they were ready to cancel the whole deal for her sake". He added, "It was later revealed by Abu Malik al-Talli, one of al-Nusra's leaders, that she was Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's wife."
On 9 December 2014, al-Dulaimi and her current Palestinian husband, Kamal Khalaf, were formally arrested after the Lebanese Military Court issued warrants and filed charges for belonging to a terrorist group, holding contacts with terrorist organizations, and planning to carry out terrorist acts. In December 2015, the Lebanese government exchanged al-Dulaimi and her daughter for Lebanese soldiers being held by al-Qaeda affiliate al-Nusra Front in a prisoner swap deal.
After Saja al-Dulaimi's arrest in 2014, a connection was made to her sister, Duaa Amid Ibrahim (aged 24 in 2016), who was arrested with a suicide vest entering Erbil in about 2011. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's sister-in-law remains in a Kurdish jail.
The Head of the Khalidiya Council in Anbar Province reported in February 2016: "Today, Iraqi Air Force conducted an airstrike on the so-called ISIL sharia court in Albu Bali area in Khalidiya Island east of Ramadi. The strike resulted in the death of Abu Ahmed al-Samarrai, the nephew of the ISIL leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, along with eight of his companions, as well as Adel al-Bilawi, the Military Commander of Albu Bali area."
He is a graduate of the Islamic University in Baghdad, where he finished his academic studies (BA, MA and PhD)
The information about al-Baghdadi's extraordinary direct role in the captivity and physical abuse of Kayla Mueller was drawn from, among many sources, the U.S. debriefings of at least two Yazidi teenage girls, ages 16 and 18, held as sex slaves in the Sayyaf compound as well as from the interrogation of Abu Sayyaf's wife Umm Sayyaf, who was captured in the U.S. raid, the officials told ABC News.
On 24 July 2016, fifteen people were injured, four seriously, in a suicide bombing outside a wine bar in Ansbach, Germany. The bomber, identified as Mohammad Daleel, was a 27-year-old Syrian refugee who had pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, leader of the Islamic State. He was the only fatality in the incident. According to German authorities, Daleel was in contact with the Islamic State and had been planning more attacks before his backpack bomb exploded accidentally.The incident followed three other violent incidents that occurred in Germany within a week. The Ansbach bombing was the first suicide bombing in Germany by Islamic terrorists, and the first since World War II. Cüneyt Çiftçi, the perpetrator of a 2008 suicide bombing in Afghanistan, who had previously lived in Ansbach, is considered the first suicide bomber to have been born and raised in Germany.2016 Magnanville stabbing
On 13 June 2016, a police officer and his partner, a police secretary, were stabbed to death in their home in Magnanville, France, located about 55 km (34 mi) west of Paris, by a man convicted in 2013 of associating with a group planning terrorist acts. Amaq News Agency, an online outlet said to be sponsored by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), said that a source had claimed that ISIL was behind the attack, an assertion that was later validated.Prosecutor François Molins said the attacker, Larossi Abballa, appeared to be acting on a recent general order from Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi to "kill miscreants at home with their families" during the month of Ramadan.On 18 June, prosecutors charged two men, on suspicion that Aballa was not acting alone. One of them was released in January 2017 under court-supervised parole.Abu Ali al-Anbari
Abdulrahman Mustafa al-Qaduli (Arabic: عبد الرحمن مصطفى القادولي 1957/59 – c. 25 March 2016), better known by his noms de guerre Abu Ala al-Afri (Arabic: أبو علاء العفري) and Abu Ali al-Anbari (Arabic: أبو علي الأنباري), was the governor for territories held by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Syria. Considered the ISIL second-in-command (along with Abu Muslim al-Turkmani, his counterpart in Iraq), he was viewed as a potential successor of ISIL leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
On 14 May 2014, he was listed as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist by the U.S Treasury Department, and on 5 May 2015, the U.S. Department of State announced a reward of up to US$7 million for information leading to his capture or death.On 25 March 2016, the U.S. Department of Defense announced al-Qaduli’s death as a result of a US Special Operations helicopter gunship raid conducted earlier that week.Abu Fatima al-Jaheishi
Ni'ma Abd Nayef al-Jabouri (Arabic: نعمة عبد نايف الجبوري), known by his nom de guerre Abu Fatima al-Jaheishi (Arabic: أبو فاطمة الجحيشي) or Abu Fatima al-Jiburi, was initially in charge of the ISIS operations in southern Iraq before he moved to the northern city of Kirkuk. He is now the Governor of the South and Central Euphrates region in the Islamic State and a senior member in the IS hierarchy.The available information indicates that as of 2016, Abu Fatima is alive and part of the inner circle of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, serving as his deputy in the position of the overall leader for Iraq. He succeeded Abu Muslim al-Turkmani, who was killed by a US drone strike near Mosul on 18 August 2015.Abu Jandal al-Kuwaiti
Abu Jandal al-Kuwaiti (1970s/80s – 26 December 2016; born Abdul Mohsen al-Zaghilani al-Taresh or Abdul Mohsen Al-Dhufairi) was a leading official of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, serving as important military commander, recruiter and propagandist. Known for his command capabilities and popular among his subordinates, Abu Jandal was called "The Lion" among ISIL fighters and fought in several battles in Syria and Iraq. By late 2016, Abu Jandal had become ISIL's second highest-ranking commander in Syria and led the defense of its de facto capital Raqqa against the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). He was killed by a US airstrike on 26 December 2016.Abubakar Shekau
Abu Mohammed Abubakar bin Mohammad al-Sheikawi , also known by the alias Darul Akeem wa Zamunda Tawheed, or Darul Tawheed ("the abode of monotheism") (Arabic: دار التوحيد), thought to be born between 1965 and 1975, is a Kanuri man known as the leader of Boko Haram, a Nigerian militant group that has declared loyalty to the Islamist militant group, Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS). He served as deputy leader to the group's founder, Mohammed Yusuf, until Yusuf was executed in 2009. Nigerian authorities believed that Shekau was killed in 2009 during clashes between security forces and Boko Haram until July 2010, when Shekau appeared in a video claiming leadership of the group. He has subsequently been reported dead with regularity, and is thought to use body doubles. In March 2015, Shekau pledged allegiance to ISIL leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Shekau is a Salafi. He has been described as possessing a photographic memory.Al-Bu Badri tribe
Al-Bu Badri is a notable Arab tribe in Iraq, predominantly based in Samarra, Diyala and Baghdad. It is mostly a Sunni tribe of around 25,000 but has a small Shia minority of about 1,500.Al-Samarrai
Al-Samarrai is a surname. Notable people with the surname include:
Ahmad Husayn Khudayir as-Samarrai, Iraqi politician
Ayad al-Samarrai, Iraqi politician
Sarmed al-Samarrai, Iraqi actor
Wafiq al-Samarrai, Iraqi general
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (born Ibrahim Awwad Ibrahim Ali Muhammad al-Badri al-Samarrai), leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and the LevantAl Masani`, Abyan
Al Masani is a village in south-western Yemen. It is located in the Abyan Governorate. It is currently controlled by a faction of the Islamic State that split off from Ansar Al-Sharia to pledge alliegence to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Several sources show that Al-Qaeda had disowned the faction.Great Mosque of al-Nuri (Mosul)
The Great Mosque of al-Nuri (Arabic: جامع النوري, translit. Jāmiʿ an-Nūrī) was a mosque in Mosul, Iraq. It was famous for its leaning minaret, which gave the city its nickname "the hunchback" (الحدباء al-Ḥadbāˈ). Tradition holds that the mosque was first built in the late 12th century, although it underwent many renovations over the years. The mosque withstood various hostile invading forces over its 850-year history until it was destroyed with its distinctive minaret in the Battle of Mosul in 2017.
Iraqi troops attributed the destruction of the Great Mosque to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in a vandalistic move to destroy it rather than let it go from their hold. The mosque had held symbolic importance to ISIL and its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, as it was used in 2014 by the militants to self-declare their "caliphate". ISIL's black flag had been flying on the 45-metre minaret after their militants surged across Iraq and Syria seizing territory, and they had promised to never let their flag be lowered from it. Contrary to official accounts and local eyewitnesses, ISIL alleged that U.S. forces destroyed it. ISIL's claim was not substantiated. The BBC reported that "IS accused the United States-led coalition aircraft of bombing the site, but experts said a video circulated online appeared to show charges inside the structures exploding."Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi stated that the destruction of the mosque by ISIL was a "declaration of defeat", and that "[b]lowing up the al-Hadba minaret and the al-Nuri mosque amounts to an official acknowledgment of defeat [by ISIS]."Islamic State of Iraq
The Islamic State of Iraq (ISI; Arabic: دولة العراق الإسلامية Dawlat al-ʿIrāq al-ʾIslāmiyyah) (commonly referred to as al-Qaeda in Iraq) was a militant Salafist jihadist group that aimed to establish an Islamic state in Sunni, Arab-majority areas of Iraq during the Iraq War and later in Syria during the Syrian Civil War.
Islamic State of Iraq traces its origins to Jama'at al-Tawhid wal-Jihad, which was formed by the Jordanian national Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in Jordan in 1999. Al-Zarqawi led the group, under numerous name changes, until his death in June 2006. Jama'at participated in the Iraqi insurgency (2003–2011) following the 2003 invasion of Iraq by Western forces, and on 17 October 2004 al-Zarqawi had pledged allegiance to Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda network; and the group became known as Tanzim Qaidat al-Jihad fi Bilad al-Rafidayn (commonly known as al-Qaeda in Iraq). In January 2006, Tanzim and five other Iraqi insurgent groups formed the Mujahideen Shura Council, which on 15 October 2006 merged to form Islamic State of Iraq. At their height in 2006–2008, ISI had military units or strongholds in Mosul and in the governorates of Baghdad, Al Anbar and Diyala, and they claimed Baqubah as their capital. The new group continued to be commonly referred to as al-Qaeda in Iraq.
Shortly after al-Zarqawi's death, al-Qaeda in Iraq named a new leader, Abu-Hamzah al-Muhajir, thought to be a pseudonym, which the US military named as Abu Ayyub al-Masri, an Egyptian militant based in Baghdad. Al-Masri and ISI leader Abu Omar al-Baghdadi were killed during a military operation on a safehouse on 18 April 2010. Abu Omar al-Baghdadi was succeeded as leader of ISI by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. On 14 May 2010, al-Masri was succeeded by Abu Suleiman al-Naser (also known as al-Nasser Lideen Illah Abu Suleiman), who was in turn killed some time in 2011. Following Suleiman's death, the position of "War Minister" was replaced by a Military Council composed of former regime military officers under the leadership of Haji Bakr.On 7 April 2013 Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi transformed ISI into the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, ISIS, IS), which is still active today. Haji Bakr, whose name was Samir Abd Muhammad al-Khlifawi, was killed in January 2014, and was succeeded by Abu Abdulrahman al-Bilawi as head of the ISIL Military Council. Al-Bilawi was killed on 4 June 2014, and was reportedly succeeded by Abu Mohannad al-Sweidawi as leader of the ISIL Military Council. There were reports in November 2014 that al-Sweidawi had been killed in an Iraqi airstrike that reportedly also injured Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. The Daily Beast reported that al-Sweidawi was succeeded by senior ISIL figure Abu Ali al-Anbari, who was in turn killed on 24 March 2016. Al-Anbari was considered the ISIL second-in-command in Syria and was viewed as a potential successor of ISIL's present leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. The second-in-command in Iraq was Abu Muslim al-Turkmani, who was killed on 18 August 2015, and who was succeeded as the ISIL leader in Iraq by Abu Fatima al-Jaheishi.Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant – Sinai Province
The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant – Sinai Province (Arabic: الدولة الإسلامية في العراق والشام – ولاية سيناء, ad-Dawlah al-Islāmiyah fī 'l-ʿIrāq wa-sh-Shām – Wilayah Sīnāʼ), or ISIL-SP, is a militant Islamist group active in the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt.
Ansar Bait al-Maqdis (ABM) has been part of the Sinai insurgency and had been especially active in the Sinai since 2011 after the deterioration of security there, focusing its efforts on Israel and the Arab gas pipeline to Jordan. After former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi was deposed in the 2013 Egyptian coup d'état, Egypt also began conducting a crackdown on jihadist groups in Sinai and elsewhere. ABM and other jihadist groups intensified their campaign of attacks on Egyptian security forces. On 13 November 2014, ABM pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), and adopted the name Sinai Province (Wilayah Sīnāʼ) claiming to be a branch of ISIL.The leader of the group is Abu Osama al-Masri, but not much personal information is available.Kizlyar church shooting
On February 18, 2018, a 22-year-old man local to the Russia’s southern province of Dagestan carrying a knife and a double-barreled shotgun opened fire on a crowd at an Orthodox church in Kizlyar, killing five women and injuring several other people, including two police and two critically hurt. He was shot and killed by police on duty nearby.
The attack occurred as churchgoers celebrated the Sunday of Forgiveness, the last day of Cheesefare week, a Christian holiday marking the last day before Lent according to the eastern Orthodox calendar.The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) named the man Khalil al-Dagestani, one of its soldiers. Police named him Khalil Khalilov. Pro-ISIL social media later shared a video of a masked man with a shotgun and knife, said to be the killer, pledging his allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.Letter to Baghdadi
Letter to Baghdadi is an open letter to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria as a theological refutation of the practices of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. It is signed by numerous Muslim theologians, lawmakers and community leaders.Liwa Dawud
Liwa Dawud (Arabic:لواء داوود, liwa' dawud, The David Brigade) was an armed group in the Syrian Civil War headquartered in Samrin in the Idlib Governorate and originated as a subunit in Suqour al-Sham then later became an independent faction then joined the Jaysh al-Sham coalition until 2014 when the group along with its leader defected to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant during the course of the Inter-rebel conflict during the Syrian Civil War.
In an interview the group's leader Hassan Aboud stated that the rebels were corrupt profiteers. Other rebel groups were suspicious of Aboud and Liwa Dawud for being extremists and Islamic State affiliates in Idlib. Aboud and one of his brothers fought American forces during the Iraq War, according to locals. Some suggested that the pair returned to Syria as a sleeper cell tied to Al Qaeda in Iraq. Prior to the foundation of Liwa Dawud Hassan Aboud joined Suqour al-Sham in 2011. Other members of Jaysh al-Sham saw Liwa Dawud as a fifth-column element, Abboud also made frequent meetings with ISIL's leadership in 2013. After the 2013 meetings a campaign began of secret operations to sabotage other groups and it was during this period Aboud assumed leadership over Liwa Dawud. Also in 2013 Abu Ali al-Anbari met with various rebel leaders in the Idlib Governorate including Aboud and gave $2 million and weapons to Aboud and Liwa Dawud. The brigade has also been accused of assassinating Ahrar al-Sham leaders and of holding James Foley before turning him over to ISIS.
Through the course of the group's existence its members carried out assassinations against rivals and individuals who betrayed the group as part of their secret operations campaign. In early 2014 Aboud announced that Liwa Dawud was to join Jaysh al-Sham during this time he received instructions from ISIS. In July 2014 he declared his loyalty to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and Liwa Dawud officially defected and the remaining members of Liwa Dawud numbering 1,000 departed to Raqqa.
Aboud along with remnants of the group fought in multiple battle for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant including the battle of Kobane and Palmyra Offensive after which some of the staff in the courts were from Liwa Dawud.May 2015 U.S. special forces raid in Syria
On 15 May 2015, 1st SFOD-Delta operators from the Joint Special Operations Command based in Iraq conducted an operation in Al-Amr, Syria to capture a senior Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) leader named Abu Sayyaf, resulting in his death when he engaged United States forces in combat, after his location was confirmed by surveillance from British SAS operators. Abu Sayyaf's role in ISIL was managing its gas and oil operations; he had built up a network of traders and wholesalers of ISIL-controlled oil that he helped triple energy revenues for the terror group. His other duties for the group included approving expenses to cover the upkeep of slaves, rebuilding oil facilities damaged by airstrikes and counting of revenue. The wife of Abu Sayyaf, Umm Sayyaf was captured and is currently held by U.S. Forces in Iraq. The operation also led to the freeing of a Yazidi woman who was held as a slave. About a dozen ISIL fighters were also killed in the raid, two US officials said. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that an additional 19 ISIL fighters were killed in the US airstrikes that accompanied the raid. One official said that ISIL Forces fired at the U.S. aircraft, and there was reportedly hand-to-hand combat during the raid. Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters and Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft were used to conduct the raid.
Intelligence discovered in the raid revealed how ISIL was funding itself through the group's construction of a multinational oil operation with help from terrorist-group executives determined to maximize profits. The intelligence also showed how the organization deals with the Syrian regime, handles corruption allegations among top officials and most critically, how international coalition strikes have dented but not destroyed ISIS income. Defense Secretary Ash Carter called the raid a "significant blow" against Islamic State and heralded the death of the terror group's No. 2 oil executive. CNN reported that the US got valuable information on the leader of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, from the wife after two days of interrogation.The raid was also a test for a new strategy of "targeted killing" for the Expeditionary Targeting Force.Muhammad Sholeh Ibrahim
Muhammad Sholeh Ibrahim (born Sep 1958) is an Indonesian man who is the acting leader of Jamaah Ansharut Tauhid since 2014. He has sworn allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State.Umm Sayyaf
Nasrin As'ad Ibrahim, better known by the nom de guerre Umm Sayyaf, is the widow of Abu Sayyaf, captured in May 2015 by US Delta Force soldiers on the mission where they killed her husband, a suspected leader of the Islamic State.During the raid Delta Force soldiers were also reported to have rescued a young Yazidi woman the couple had been keeping as a slave. National Security Council spokesperson Bernadette Meehan stated, "We suspect that Umm Sayyaf is a member of ISIL, played an important role in ISIL's terrorist activities, and may have been complicit in the enslavement of the young woman rescued last night."Umm Sayyaf is believed to be an Iraqi citizen.Initial reports said that she was in US custody in Iraq. On August 6, 2015 Umm Sayyaf was turned over to the Kurdish regional authorities in Erbil.
James Gordon Meek, of ABC News noted some American prosecutors wanted to try to prosecute her in the US justice system.
He characterized the Kurdish justice system as being "known for lightning-swift justice."
According to John Knefel, reporting for Al Jazeera, legal critics have challenged the Barack Obama administration for a lack of transparency over the justification for holding Umm Sayyaf in extrajudicial detention. He said, "The administration's secrecy surrounding the conditions of her imprisonment have led some lawyers and legal analysis to raise questions about what rights and protections she's being afforded, and what policy guidelines will govern treatment of new detainees in what some now refer to as the Forever War."The family of American hostage Kayla Mueller reported that they had been told that, during her captivity, she was imprisoned by Abu Sayyaf and Umm Sayyaf and sexually abused by Abu Sayyaf before she was taken as a wife and sexually abused by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Yazidi girls, who had been held as sex slaves by Abu Sayyaf, and who later escaped, were the first to report that Mueller was also sexually abused, before her death. Interrogation of various individuals by intelligence officials seemed to indicate that al-Baghdadi had been Mueller's primary abuser.On February 8, 2016, Sayyaf was charged by American prosecutors in Virginia with providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization that resulted in a person's death. The federal charge carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.Worldwide caliphate
A worldwide caliphate is the concept of a single one-world government, supported in particular by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, a leader of the Islamic fundamentalist militant group the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. On April 8, 2006, the Daily Times of Pakistan reported that at a rally held in Islamabad the militant organization Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan called for the formation of a worldwide caliphate, which was to begin in Pakistan. In 2014, Baghdadi claimed the successful creation of a worldwide caliphate.A Constitution guides the governance of activities of the principal bodies located in Pakistan.
Hizb ut-Tahrir, a pan-Islamist political organization, believes that all Muslims should unite in a worldwide caliphate that will "challenge, and ultimately conquer, the West." Because extremists often commit acts of violence in pursuit of this goal, it lacks appeal among a wider audience. Brigitte Gabriel argues that the goal of a worldwide caliphate is central to the enterprise of radical Islam.