ISIS Hit List: These Are The World’s 5 Most Wanted Jihadists
Editors note: This story was updated on July 2, 2015 when the Pentagon reported that Tariq Bin-al-Tahar Bin al Falih al-‘Awni al-Harzi was killed in an airstrike on June 16.
Unlike Osama bin Laden, who often appeared in videos to incite attacks against the West, the extremist leaders of ISIS — none more powerful than Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi — have kept a low profile since the militant group declared its caliphate a year ago. The United States is hoping $30 million in bounty money will help capture them, dead or alive.
The State Department put up the rewards for ISIS’ top brass well before Friday’s explosion of violence where terrorists killed dozens, including 37 people at a beachfront Tunisian hotel. The biggest reward authorized by Secretary of State John Kerry — $10 million — is reserved for al-Baghdadi, who has been on the United States’ most wanted list since 2011, years before ISIS became a household name.
Since its inception, the State Department’s Rewards for Justice program has forked over $125 million to more than 80 people who have provided intel that helped put dangerous terrorists and fugitives behind bars. The biggest reward offered to date was $25 million for information leading to bin Laden, but no one ever collected on that money.
Here are the faces of the top five most wanted ISIS leaders and the bounties on each of their heads:
The 43-year-old al-Baghdadi also goes by the name Abu Du’a. Overseeing all ISIS operations, he is currently based in Syria but his exact whereabouts are unknown.
According to the U.S. government, Baghdadi has taken personal credit for a series of deadly attacks in Iraq since 2011, including the June 2013 Abu Ghraib prison break and the March 2013 suicide bombing on the Ministry of Justice in which at least 20 people were killed.
Abd al-Rahman Mustafa al-Qaduli is a senior ISIS official who rejoined the group in Syria after his release from an Iraqi prison in early 2012. Al-Qaduli joined al-Qaeda in 2004 under the command of now deceased al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and served as al-Zarqawi’s deputy and the AQI amir (leader) of Mosul in northern Iraq.
Abu Mohammed al-Adnani, born Taha Sobhi Falaha in Syria, is the official spokesman for and a senior leader of ISIS. Al-Adnani is the main conduit for the dissemination of official messages, including ISIS’ declaration that it had established an Islamic caliphate.
Over the past several years, Syria-based Georgian national Tarkhan Tayumurazovich Batirashvili—also known as Omar the Chechen—has held a number of top military positions within ISIS.
As of mid 2014, Batirashvili has been a senior ISIS commander and Shura Council member based in al-Raqqah, Syria. He was identified as the ISIS military commander in a public video distributed by the group in late June 2014. Batirashvili oversaw an ISIS prison facility in al-Tabqa, close to Raqqah, where the group possibly held foreign hostages. As of mid-2014, Batirashvili also coordinated closely with the group’s financial section and had a base of operations for the terrorist organization in the Minbij, Syria area.
Tariq Bin-al-Tahar Bin al Falih al-‘Awni al-Harzi died in an airstrike on June 16, according to the Pentagon. He had been operating in Syria as an ISIS official since mid 2014. He worked to raise funds, recruit, equip and facilitate incoming fighters for the terrorist organization. He also commanded the group’s suicide bombers and worked with his brother to provide material support to ISIS by procuring and shipping weapons from Libya and Syria, and helps raise funds from Gulf-based donors.
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