Last week, the Russian Defense Ministry reported that they believed they killed ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in an airstrike in Syria near the end of May. However, the Russian Foreign Ministry has yet to confirm al-Baghdadi died in the airstrike, the same conclusion the U.S. has come to regarding the self-proclaimed caliph who has not been seen in public in three years.
If Al-Baghdadi survived that incident, and is alive, he’s reportedly been operating without his chief cleric, Turki al-Bin’ali, who the U.S.-led coalition claims was killed in a separate airstrike near Mayadin, Syria on May 31 . Called “Grand Mufti,” al-Bin’ali was an important ISIS recruiter and propagandist, appearing in a number of the group’s videos, and served as one of al-Baghdadi’s closest confidants. U.S. Central Command confirmed al-Bin’ali’s death in a press release, weeks after ISIS itself said he had been killed.
As a religious leader from Bahrain, al-Bin’ali was known for recruiting heavily from disaffected youth in Gulf Arab countries, according to Al-Monitor. His youthfulness also garnered stories about being a millennial. Per the New York Post:
Turki al-Binali has crisscrossed the Islamic State group’s self-declared caliphate in Syria and Iraq with a pistol holstered at his side, delivering fiery sermons in which the 30-year-old provides religious justification for its bloody rampage across the region.
The young Bahraini preacher, who has emerged as one of the extremists’ leading ideologues, promotes a version of Islam that has been rejected not only by mainstream religious authorities, but even by veteran jihadi clerics now increasingly out of touch with the new generation of radicals.
Seems like a nice guy!
(via Fox News)