An image grab taken from a video released on July 5, 2014 by Al-Furqan Media shows alleged Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi preaching during Friday prayer at a mosque in Mosul.(Photo by Al-Furqan Media/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Photo: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
Photo: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Who was al-Baghdadi and why was he one of the most wanted men in the world?

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, head of the Islamic State terror group, is dead following a U.S. military raid Saturday in northwest Syria's Idlib province, President Trump announced in an address to the nation Sunday morning.

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Who was al-Baghdadi and what made him one of the most wanted men in the world? Here’s a look at the leader of ISIS.

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1. The man known as Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was believed to have been born Ibrahim Awad Ibrahim al-Badri. 

2. He was 48 years old – he was born on July 28, 1971, near Samarra, Iraq. Samarra is north of Baghdad.

3. He was believed to have earned bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees from Baghdad University.

4. He was a cleric in a mosque in Samarra when the United States invaded Iraq in 2003.

5. He was believed to have been a jihadist in Iraq at that time.

6. He was captured by U.S. forces on Feb. 2, 2004, near Fallujah in Iraq, and was held at Abu Ghraib and Camp Bucca, U.S. detention facilities in Iraq.

7. He rose to leadership of the Iraqi branch of al-Qaeda in 2010. Around 2013, that branch of al-Qaeda became the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, and al-Baghdadi became its leader.

8. In 2014, al-Baghdadi declared a caliphate after his troops captured the Syrian city of Mosul.

9. Al-Baghdadi was believed to have three wives – two Iraqi and one from Syria. Two other women may have been married to him at some time. He was believed to have a son and a daughter.

10. The United States had offered $25 million for information leading to his capture or his death.

11. In June 2017, Russian authorities reported that they killed al-Baghdadi in an airstrike the month before, but the U.S. remained skeptical. According to the Telegraph, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights issued a statement saying al-Baghdadi was in a different part of Syria during the airstrike. 

Stories of al-Baghdadi’s death had been reported several times before and proven to be untrue.

12. In April 2019, al-Baghdadi appeared for the first time in five years in a video released by ISIS, acknowledging the defeat of the group in Syria but vowing a "long battle" ahead, The Associated Press reported.

According to AP, the SITE Intelligence group said al-Baghdadi, in the video, also discussed the Easter Day bombings in Sri Lanka which killed more than 250 people and for which the group claimed responsibility.

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