Erbil – The US has increased its initial $10 million reward offer to $25 million, for any information leading to the capture of the Islamic State’s (ISIS) supreme leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
“ISIS leaders are being killed one-by-one. Their so-called ‘Caliph’ is not far behind. New $25M reward for Baghdadi,” announced Brett McGurk, the anti-ISIS Special Presidential Envoy.
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, also known as Abu Du’a, Ibrahim Awwad Ibrahim and Ali al-Badri, is the leader of the Islamic State and the group’s self-proclaimed Caliphate.
The US State Department’s Counter-Terrorism Rewards Program explained that the bounty was being increased so that it matched al-Baghdadi’s stature within the wider jihadi movement.
“The threat that al-Baghdadi poses has increased significantly since the State Department’s initial $10 million reward offer for information leading to his location, arrest, or conviction was announced in 2011,” the State Department said in a statement.
“In June 2014, ISIS seized control of portions of Syria and Iraq, declared the establishment of an Islamic Caliphate, and named al-Baghdadi as Caliph,” the statement continued. “In recent years, ISIS has gained the allegiance of jihadist groups and radicalized individuals around the world.”
Al-Baghdadi is designated by the State Department as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) under Executive Order 13224. He is also listed at the United Nations Security Council, through its ISIS and al-Qaeda Sanctions Committee.
The Counter-Terrorism Rewards Program did not mince words in describing al-Baghdadi’s crimes. “Under al-Baghdadi, ISIS has been 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,” it said.
“Al-Baghdadi has taken credit for numerous terrorist attacks in Iraq since 2011, killing thousands of his fellow Iraqi citizens. [His] group has also launched terrorist attacks beyond the borders of its self-declared caliphate,” the program added.
The US-led coalition has shredded the Islamic State’s senior leadership, through a protracted air campaign. On Wednesday, the coalition announced that it had killed three ISIS leaders, who were responsible for the November 2015 Paris attacks.
Moreover, ISIS spokesperson Mohammed al-Adnani was killed in al-Bab in late August. In July, the Islamic State’s second-in-command, Omar al-Shishani, died while fighting in the town of Shirqat.
Reporting by: Wladimir van Wilgenburg | Source: ARA News