BAGHDAD (AP) — A video posted online today shows a man purported to be the leader of the Sunni extremist group that has declared an Islamic state in territory it controls in Iraq and Syria.
The 21-minute video is said to show Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the head of the Islamic State group, delivering a sermon yesterday at the Great Mosque in the northern city of Mosul. It was released on at least two websites known to be used by the organization, but it was not possible to independently verify.
In the video, the man says "the mujahedeen have been rewarded victory by God after years of jihad." Speaking in classical Arabic with little emotion, he outlines a vision that emphasizes holy war, the implementation of a strict interpretation of Islamic law, and the philosophy that the establishment of an Islamic caliphate is a duty incumbent on all Muslims.
There are only a few known photographs of al-Baghdadi and the video would be his first public appearance. The Iraqi militant is believed to be in his early 40s and has a $10 million U.S. bounty on his head.
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