A screenshot of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who appeared on video for the first time in five years last April. (YouTube)

After Loss of ‘Caliphate,’ Islamic State Chief Vows Revenge Against West (AUDIO INTERVIEW)

Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi appeared in a video in which he vowed to take revenge on member-nations of the US-led coalition that recently recaptured the Syrian enclave of Baghouz. This effectively  ended the “caliphate” the ISIS chief declared in 2014, which, parenthetically, was the last time he conveyed an on-screen message.

That came at the height of the Islamic State’s rampage across the Middle East, which resulted in the terror group’s acquisition of huge swaths of territory, including major cities in Iraq and Syria.

Now without a home base, adherents of al-Baghdadi’s radical Islamist ideology have reverted to traditional insurgency and terrorist tactics. In this respect, the terror boss praised the recent coordinated suicide bombings in Sri Lanka—for which ISIS claimed responsibility—that killed 259 people and injured hundreds more.

Al-Baghdadi added that the Islamic State was now in a “war of attrition” and called for “lone wolf” attacks particularly in the West.

Analysts believe that the Islamic State still poses a threat as it retains an estimated 20,000-30,000 loyalists located primarily in the Middle East and Africa.

The Media Line spoke with Yoram Schweitzer, head of the Program on Terrorism and Low Intensity Conflict at the Institute for National Security Studies.

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