ISIS ‘caliph’ Baghdadi visits west Anbar towns
Locals in the western Iraqi towns of Rawa and Qaim have said the leader of militant group the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, who has dubbed himself a “caliph,” had paid them a visit on Friday.
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who allegedly appeared in a widely-shared video last month while he gave a sermon in the militant-held city of Mosul, visited ISIS fighters in both towns, Al Arabiya News Channel’s Iraq correspondent reported.
Baghdadi visited the towns accompanied by dozens of cars loaded with fighters.
Residents speculated that Baghdadi would then be heading to Raqqa province in northern Syria, an ISIS stronghold, on Saturday evening.
The July video was allegedly the first ever official appearance by Baghdadi. He was dressed in black robes and a black turban, has dark eyes, thick eyebrows and a full black beard. He spoke eloquent classical Arabic, but showed little emotion.
“I am the wali (ruler) who presides over you, though I am not the best of you, so if you see that I am right, assist me,” he said, wearing a black turban and robe.
“If you see that I am wrong, advise me and put me on the right track, and obey me as long as I obey God in you.”
The video was released on at least two websites known to be used by the group. It bore the logo of al-Furqan, the group’s media arm.