The US Department of State has increased its reward offer for Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, also known as Abu Du’a, also known as Ibrahim ‘Awwad Ibrahim ‘Ali al-Badri, to $25 million.
al-Baghdadi is the senior leader of the terrorist organization Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). According to the Department of State, the threat that al-Baghdadi poses has increased significantly since its $10 million reward offer for information leading to his location, arrest or conviction was announced in 2011.
In June 2014, ISIL (also known as Da’esh) seized control of portions of Syria and Iraq, declared the establishment of an Islamic caliphate and named al-Baghdadi as caliph. In recent years, ISIL has gained the allegiance of Jihadist groups and radicalized individuals around the world and has inspired attacks in the United States.
Under al-Baghdadi, ISIL is responsible for the deaths of thousands of civilians in the Middle East, including the murders of numerous civilian hostages from Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States. al-Baghdadi has taken credit for numerous terrorist attacks in Iraq since 2011, killing thousands of his fellow Iraqi citizens.
Additonally, ISIL has launched terrorist attacks beyond the borders of its self-declared caliphate. In November 2015, two ISIL suicide bombings in Beirut left 43 dead and 239 wounded. In the same month, ISIL carried out seven coordinated attacks in Paris – killing at least 130 and injuring more than 350 others.
In March 2016, ISIL terrorists killed at least 34 people in Brussels – including four United States citizens – and injured more than 270 others.
al-Baghdadi is identified by the Department of State as a specially-designated global terrorist under Executive Order 13224. He is also listed at the United Nations Security Council ISIL (Da’esh) and al-Qaida Sanctions Committee.