SYRIA

Who Is The ISIS Leader?

Jun 16, 2017 at 5:23 PM ET

Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi — sometimes known as the “invisible sheikh” — has led ISIS since its earliest days in Iraq and Syria. Now, Russia says it may have killed Baghdadi in a May 28 airstrike on Raqqa, Syria.  However, U.S. officials say they are still unable to confirm his death.

This is not the first time that he’s been reportedly killed either…

Baghdadi avoids the spotlight and many details about his life and origins are unknown, though he’s thought to have been born in Samarra, Iraq in 1971.

He was arrested by the U.S. in Iraq in 2004 as a suspected Al-qaeda member, and while documents say he was released the same year, this is disputed and he may have been released in 2009.  The next year he was named the head of Al-qaeda in Iraq, which eventually became ISIS.

In 2011, the U.S. officially named him a terrorist  and placed a $10 million bounty on his head. The reward has since been boosted to $25 million.

In 2014, he made a rare appearance in Mosul and delivered a sermon in which he called himself the caliph of the Islamic State. It’s the only time he’s known to have appeared in a public video.