News / Middle East

US Has $10M Bounty on ISIL Leader It Previously Held

Image taken from recently released video shows man purported to be Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, ISIL's reclusive leader, making what would be his first public appearance at a mosque in the center of Iraq's second city, Mosul July 5, 2014.
Image taken from recently released video shows man purported to be Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, ISIL's reclusive leader, making what would be his first public appearance at a mosque in the center of Iraq's second city, Mosul July 5, 2014.
VOA News

For nearly three years the United States has had a $10 million bounty on the man who has emerged as the leader of Islamic insurgents, even though American authorities had him in custody during the U.S. war in Iraq.

U.S. military authorities captured the man known by his nom de guerre, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, in 2005, and held him for four years at Camp Bucca, detention center the U.S. was operating in southern Iraq.

But as the United States wound down combat operations in Iraq, former President George W. Bush signed an agreement turning over all detainees to the Iraqis, who released Baghdadi in 2010.

That year Baghdadi assumed leadership of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), the group that has taken control of large swathes of Iraq and Syria.

ISIL poses a great threat to the Baghdad government as the militants seek to impose a Sunni Islam caliphate across the Middle East.

The U.S. officially designated Baghdadi a terrorist in 2011 and offered the $10 million reward for his capture or killing.

Baghdadi's background

Baghdadi is believed to have been born in Samarra, north of Baghdad, in 1971, with the name Awwad Ibrahim Ali al-Badri al-Samarrai.

He obtained a doctoral degree in Islamic studies and history at an Islamist university in Baghdad, perhaps accounting for why several of his aliases include the title "Dr."

Some news accounts say he was a cleric in a mosque at the time of the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, and possibly already a militant jihadist during the rule of Saddam Hussein, the Iraqi leader toppled by the U.S. and eventually executed.  The circumstances of Baghdadi's apprehension by the U.S. are not publicly known, but some analysts say he may have been radicalized while held by the U.S.

He has rarely been seen in public, but a video was posted Saturday on radical Islamist websites purporting to show him giving a sermon Friday at a mosque in Mosul, Iraq's second largest city captured last month by the ISIL insurgents.

He appealed to his followers to help him if he is right, and put him "on the right path" if he is wrong.

"It is a burden to accept this empowerment to be in charge of you. I am not better than you or more virtuous than you," Baghdadi said. "If you see me on the right path, help me. If you see me on the wrong path, advise me and halt me. And obey me as far as I obey God."

Baghdadi has declared an Islamic "caliphate" in northern Iraq and Syria, calling on the world's Muslims to emigrate there and take up arms.

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by: kenny from: chicago
July 07, 2014 12:05 PM
So Obama released another criminal. That is what they do in Chicago and Illinois. Obama Democrats let the killers out. I guess they get paid well. That is the Chicago Way.

In Response

by: EG
July 07, 2014 4:49 PM
Hey genius, did you read the part of the article where it said that George W Bush signed the the guy over to Iraq, and then they released him? Guessing not by the OP.


by: Careless from: Moon
July 07, 2014 7:38 AM
So the US had this guy, then let him go, and now offers 10 million for his head. From were these 10 million coming from ? Hope not from taxpayers money

In Response

by: ali baba from: new york
July 07, 2014 9:49 AM
We are borrowing from china To pay for this idiot and pay for afghisstan


by: al from: IRAN
July 07, 2014 4:51 AM
Oh Gee Wee, has good old uncle Sam been busy preparing another Ben Laden ?


by: Johnny Beacham
July 07, 2014 3:44 AM
10 Million more dollars for nothing America has a military that is already funded you it.Eastern Syria an Iraq should be lite up like Japan was from Air an Sea no ground troops an hit from every direction while these terrorist are mainly in this area.Just think if we Bombed them 30 days straight it would be over why keep talking it gets you no were at all.Bombs draw respect something America has fail short on for nearly 6 years now.We must show strenght regardless the cost.


by: Anonymous
July 07, 2014 12:10 AM
the american government does not have a good track record with paying on bounties.


by: Mudabber from: Pakistan
July 06, 2014 10:43 PM
Ok fine. A similar bounty must also be put on the heads of genetic liars duo Bush's & Blair's for initiating all that mess after blaming Iraq for having WMD's those never exited?


by: anolesman
July 06, 2014 10:02 PM
You never know what you have till you miss it. Oh well maybe next time around. Let us hope there is a next time.


by: meanbill from: USA
July 06, 2014 7:52 PM
THE WISE MAN said it?.... You'd think that the US and Iraq Intelligence Services, would've had enough intelligence to know, that the easiest and safest way to defeat the al-Baghdadi (ISIL) army, was to just destroy and bomb all the gas stations, fuel trucks, and bridges, in the al-Baghdadi (ISIL) army territories they control, to cut off all the fuel supplies for all their pickup trucks, wouldn't you?....

The al-Baghdadi (ISIL) army has captured thousands of square miles of Iraq and Syria, (and they need millions of gallons of gas), and if you cut the supply of gas to the (ISIL) army, would come to a complete stop, and the dreams of the al-Baghdadi (ISIL) Caliphate, will die and rust, in the sands of Iraq and Syria, and history...... It's guaranteed !!!

PS;... The gas stations and fuel trucks are soft military targets, and very few Iraq troop lives would be lost, (and there isn't any need to attack and fight the (ISIL) army in combat), if you just deny them gasoline..... WHY can't the US and Iraq Intelligence Services (see) this?..... (Without gas, the (ISIL) army will stop when it's gas runs out).... won't it?


by: Joe Assi from: America
July 06, 2014 7:49 PM
only way I will do it is if Barack Obama is at my house on Thursday I'm free on Thursday! Let him bring the Secret Service they are very familiar with my home! Let's see how bad you want Abu Bakher ! I'm free Friday also! If you want it bad enough you will make it happen!


by: John from: Firefox
July 06, 2014 7:47 PM
Careful, If you help us capture him, we will let everyone know you helped us, and if they capture you your on your own, and you forfeit any reward just like we did Bin Ladens informant That guy is still locked up for helping us.

In Response

by: meanbill from: USA
July 06, 2014 9:20 PM
Hey John, If an American helps a foreign government in the US without notifying the US government, you will be working with a foreign government and (committing espionage) against the USA... (LOOK IT UP).... That Pakistan doctor knew he was working for a foreign government, and (committing espionage) against his own government, (and he did it for the money, not for his own government), didn't he?

IF, the Pakistan doctor had told his government what the US wanted him to do, the Pakistani police could've just knocked on the (1) door to the Bin Laden compound and arrested him, or Bin Laden would have committed suicide, isn't that true?

AND the US would have saved billions of dollars... (if only), they'd notified the Pakistan police what the Pakistani doctor had discovered.... (then), the US wouldn't have had to send (30) Navy Seals in (2) armored stealth attack helicopters, (armed to the teeth with full body armor), with (2) more attack helicopters standing by, and a complete US navy aircraft carrier task force, with a full complement of fixed wing and rotary wing aircraft standing by, and (2) stealth fighter planes, and (2) killer drones flying overhead.... to kill (1) old armed servant and his old "unarmed" wife... and then kill the "unarmed" (14 year old) teenage Bin Laden son, and then, finally killing that "unarmed" sick and dying old man Bin Laden...... (It's rumored, that Obama and Biden compared these (30) Navy Seal killings of the sick and dying old Bin Laden, with the (300) Spartan battle with a million Persians at Thermopylae)...

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