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Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has announced Turkey has captured a wife of former ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

On November 5, Turkey said it had detained Baghdadi’s sister in Syria.

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi killed himself during a raid by US Special Forces on his compound in north-west Syria last month.

The ISIS’ leader death was hailed as a victory for President Donald Trump, but critics argue that the jihadist group remains a security threat in Syria and elsewhere.

Last week the Islamic State confirmed Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s death and named a new leader.

Speaking in the Turkish capital Ankara, President Erdogan said he was revealing the capture of Baghdadi’s wife for the first time and also said Turkey was holding Baghdadi’s brother-in-law.

He said: “The United States said Baghdadi killed himself in a tunnel. They started a communication campaign about this.”

“But, I am announcing it here for the first time: we captured his wife and didn’t make a fuss like them. Similarly, we also captured his sister and brother-in-law in Syria.”

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi: Pentagon Publishes First Footage of Raid on Syrian Compound

Kayla Mueller: ISIS Leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi Raped American Hostage

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi: ISIS releases message from leader after death reports

On November 5, Turkish officials said the arrest of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s sister Rasmiya Awad would yield valuable intelligence about ISIS.

The arrest was reportedly made on November 4 in an area of Aleppo province now under Turkey’s control.

Rasmiya Awad was found in a trailer, where she was living with her husband, daughter-in-law and five children, a Turkish official told AP news agency, adding she was being interrogated on suspicion of involvement with an extremist group.

Experts say the town where Rasmiya Awad was captured is a known smuggling route for ISIS families.

President Trump announced Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s death at a press conference at the White House on October 27.

The president said DNA tests had been carried out to verify Baghdadi’s identity, confirming his death.

After the raid, the compound was destroyed in an air strike.

Abu Ibrahim al-Hashemi al-Qurashi has since been named as ISIS’ new leader and “caliph”.

Image source AP

Pentagon has published the first footage of the raid in northern Syria in which Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State (ISIS) group was killed.

The video showed troops firing at militants on the ground as they flew towards the compound where Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was hiding before they moved in on the ground.

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi fled into a tunnel and killed himself by detonating a suicide vest.

After the raid the compound was destroyed with munitions.

General Kenneth McKenzie, the head of US Central Command, said the destroyed buildings were left looking like “a parking lot with large potholes”.

He said two children had died with Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in the tunnel – not three as previously reported.

Kayla Mueller: ISIS Leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi Raped American Hostage

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi: ISIS releases message from leader after death reports

Gen. Kenneth McKenzie also could not confirm President Donald Trump’s graphic description of Baghdadi whimpering and crying as he died.

“He crawled into a hole with two small children and blew himself up while his people stayed on the ground. You can deduce what kind of person it is based on that activity,” he told a news conference at the Pentagon.

“That would be my empirical observation of what he did. I’m not able to confirm anything else about his last seconds. I just can’t confirm that one way or another.”

He said four women – who were wearing suicide vests – and one man were killed at the compound.

Gen McKenzie said an unknown number of fighters also died after opening fire on US helicopters.

He added: “I want to make it clear that despite the high-pressure and high-profile nature of this assault that every effort was made to avoid civilian casualties and to protect children we suspected would be in the compound.”

He confirmed that Baghdadi had been identified through his DNA – adding that samples had been on file since the ISIS leader’s detention in an Iraqi prison in 2004.

Gen McKenzie said Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s remains were flown back to a staging base for identification and were then buried at sea within 24 hours of his death “in accordance with the laws of armed conflict”.


American volunteer Kayla Mueller who was killed in February while held hostage by Islamic State (ISIS) militants in Syria, was abused by the group’s top leader, officials tell ABC News.

Kayla Mueller, 26, from Prescott, Arizona, was repeatedly raped by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, they said.

She travelled to the Turkey-Syria border in 2012 to work with refugees.

Counterterrorism officials made the Food for Life volunteer’s family aware of the abuse in June.

Kayla Mueller was abducted while working in Aleppo, Syria, in 2013. ISIS said she was killed in a Jordanian air strike, but the US blames ISIS for her death.Kayla Mueller raped by ISIS leader

“We were told Kayla was tortured, that she was the property of Baghdadi. We were told that in June by the government,” Kayla’s parents, Carl and Marsha, told ABC News.

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi personally took the American aid worker to the home of another senior ISIS member – Abu Sayyaf – who was in charge of ISIS oil and gas until his death in a US special forces operation in May, says ABC News, citing US officials.

The channel said Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi regularly visited the compound where Kayla Mueller was being held and repeatedly assaulted her.

Officials said they had obtained information about the abuse from at least two teenage Yazidi girls who were held hostage as s** slaves and found inside the Sayyaf compound at the time of the US attack.

Kayla Mueller was reportedly held for some time by Abu Sayyaf and his wife, Umm Sayyaf, who was also captured by US special forces in May.

At the time, the Pentagon said Umm Sayyaf was suspected of being an ISIS member and of being complicit in the enslavement of a young Yazidi woman who was rescued in the raid.

Hundreds of young women and girls – many of them Yazidis captured in northern Iraq – are believed to be held as slaves by ISIS militants in areas under their control.

The Yazidi girls provided intelligence used by the US to interrogate Abu Sayyaf’s wife, who “spilled everything” about several ISIS leaders and their whereabouts, a counterterrorism official told ABC.

Umm Sayyaf was handed over to the Kurdish authorities in northern Iraq last week to face trial.

The information that has come to light appears to contradict speculation that Kayla Mueller was treated well in captivity, as a letter written in 2014 and smuggled out to her family implied.

In that letter, Kayla Mueller tried to reassure her family, saying that she had been treated with “utmost respect + kindness”.

Islamic State (ISIS) militants have released an audiotape they say was recorded by the group leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, days after reports that he had been killed or injured.

In the recording, released via social media, the speaker says ISIS fighters will never stop fighting “even if only one soldier remains”.

Correspondents say the recording appears authentic and recent.

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was said to have been caught in a US-led air strike near the Iraqi city of Mosul last week.

Thursday’s 17-minute recording makes no direct reference to that air strike, but does mention some developments that have occurred since then.

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was said to have been caught in a US-led air strike near the Iraqi city of Mosul

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was said to have been caught in a US-led air strike near the Iraqi city of Mosul

An English transcript of the recording was also released.

Meanwhile, US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said the US-led coalition fighting ISIS was making progress, but must “prepare for a long and difficult struggle”.

The ISIS audiotape mentions President Barack’s Obama decision to deploy an extra 1,500 troops to Iraq – a move announced shortly after the air strike on Mosul.

The recording calls on ISIS supporters to “erupt volcanoes of jihad” across the world.

He disparages opponents of ISIS as “Jews, Crusaders, apostates… [and] devils”, and says the US and its allies “are terrified, weak and powerless”.

The recording also calls for attacks in Saudi Arabia – describing Saudi leaders as “the head of the snake” – and says that the US-led military campaign in Syria and Iraq is failing.

Gulf state rulers, who have joined the US-led coalition against IS, are described as “treacherous”.

The recording also refers to new pledges of allegiance from jihadist groups in Libya, Egypt and Yemen that occurred in recent days.

“O soldiers of the Islamic State… erupt volcanoes of jihad everywhere. Light the earth with fire against all dictators,” the voice on the recording says.

In contrast to the audio messaging disparaging the coalition efforts, Chuck Hagel said US-led air strikes had helped in “degrading and destroying ISIL’s [ISIS] war fighting capacity and in denying safe haven to its fighters”.

“Directly and through support of Iraqi forces, coalition air strikes have hit ISIL’s command and control, its leadership, its revenue sources… and impaired its ability to amass forces,” he added.

The self-styled Islamic State – a jihadist group also known as ISIS, or ISIL – has seized swathes of Syria and Iraq since June, declaring a caliphate over territory it controls.

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi himself is a shadowy figure who only showed himself publicly for the first time in a video released in July, when he delivered a sermon in Mosul, Iraq.

He claims lineage from the family and tribe of the Prophet Muhammad.

Although currently limited to Iraq and Syria, ISIS has promised to “break the borders” of Jordan and Lebanon and to “free Palestine”.

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A caliphate is an Islamic state ruled by a single political and religious leader, or Caliph.

Caliphs are regarded by their followers as successors to the Prophet Muhammad and the leader of all Muslims.

The word “caliph” comes from the Arabic khalifa, meaning “successor”. Its use means the IS claims Baghdadi as the only legitimate successor to the Prophet.

Abdulmecid II was the last Sunni Caliph of Islam from the Ottoman Dynasty

Abdulmecid II was the last Sunni Caliph of Islam from the Ottoman Dynasty (photo flickr.com)

First caliphate came into being after Prophet Muhammad’s death in 632. In the centuries which followed, caliphates had dominion in the Middle East and North Africa.

Historically, caliphates involved governance under Islamic law, with the leadership elected according to Sunni practice and selected from a group of Imams under Shia traditions.

Laws under a caliphate are traditionally defined in accordance with Islamic ethics. In the past the role of caliph has largely been symbolic, leaving the day-to-day running of government down to the devolved powers of local rulers.

The last widely accepted caliphate was abolished in 1924 by Turkish leader Kemal Ataturk after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. Abdulmecid II was the last ruler of a caliphate.

In 2014, Islamist militant group ISIS has declared caliphate in parts of Iraq and Syria, appointing its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, as Caliph.

ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has called on Muslims to obey him, in his first video sermon.

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has been appointed caliph by the jihadist group, which has seized large swathes of Iraq and Syria.

The video appears to have been filmed on Friday during a sermon at the al-Nouri Mosque in Mosul, northern Iraq.

The footage surfaced on Saturday amid reports that he had been killed or wounded in an Iraqi air raid.

ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has called on Muslims to obey him, in his first video sermon

ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has called on Muslims to obey him, in his first video sermon (photo AFP)

It was not clear when the attack was supposed to have taken place.

In the sermon, at Mosul’s most famous landmark, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi praised the establishment of the “Islamic state”, which was declared by ISIS last Sunday.

Experts say the reclusive militant leader has never appeared on video before, although there are photographs of him.

“Appointing a leader is an obligation on Muslims, and one that has been neglected for decades,” he said.

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi also said that he did not seek out the position of being the caliph, or leader, calling it a “burden”.

“I am your leader, though I am not the best of you, so if you see that I am right, support me, and if you see that I am wrong, advise me,” he told worshippers.

Captions in the video referred to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as “Caliph Ibrahim”, a name he has used since the group unilaterally declared him leader of an “Islamic state” last Sunday.

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ISIS militants have announced they are establishing a caliphate, or Islamic state, on the territories the Islamist group controls in Iraq and Syria.

ISIS (the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant) also proclaimed the group’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, as caliph and “leader for Muslims everywhere”.

Setting up a caliphate ruled by the strict Islamic law has long been a goal of many jihadists.

Meanwhile, Iraq’s army continued an offensive to retake the northern city of Tikrit from the ISIS-led rebels.

Tikrit was seized by the insurgents on June 11 as they swept across large parts of northern-western Iraq.

ISIS militants have announced Islamic state on the territories the Islamist group controls in Iraq and Syria

ISIS militants have announced Islamic state on the territories the Islamist group controls in Iraq and Syria

In a separate development, Israel called for the creation of an independent Kurdish state in response to the gain made by the Sunni rebels in Iraq.

ISIS announced the establishment of the caliphate in an audio recording posted on the internet.

The group also said that from now on it would be known simply as “the Islamic State”.

The declaration harks back to the rise of Islam, when the Prophet Muhammad’s followers conquered vast territories in the Middle Ages.

The Sunni-Shia split happened because of a dispute over the succession to Muhammad, with the Sunnis following caliphs as their religious authority.

ISIS said the Islamic state would extend from Aleppo in northern Syria to Diyala province in eastern Iraq.

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi would become the leader of the state and would be known as “Caliph Ibrahim”.

In the recording, the rebels also demanded that all Muslims “pledge allegiance” to the new ruler and “reject democracy and other garbage from the West”.

On Sunday, Iraqi government jets struck at rebel positions and clashes broke out in various parts of Tikrit, witnesses and officials said.

Troops had reportedly pulled back to the nearby town of Dijla as Saturday’s initial offensive met stiff resistance.

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