Check out my new article for the BBC: “Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi: Islamic State’s Driving Force”

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On 5 July, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, known by his supporters as Caliph Ibrahim, left the shadows and showed his face for the first time, in a Friday sermon in Mosul, Iraq.

While previous pictures of him had been leaked, Baghdadi had not shown himself in the four years since he became leader of what was then the jihadist Islamic State of Iraq (forerunner of Isis, then the Islamic State).

Before April 2013, Baghdadi also did not release many audio messages.

His first written statement was a eulogy to Osama Bin Laden in May 2011.

His first audio message was released in July 2012 and predicted future victories for the Islamic State.

Since the group’s resurgence, which began 15 months ago, Baghdadi’s media output has risen. The amount of specific information about his background has also increased.

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