Ex-CIA official: ISIS leader Baghdadi no closer to capture

 

A public appearance by the leader of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria won't bring him closer to U.S. capture, former Deputy CIA Director Mike Morell said Monday.

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A video from the group released over the weekend showed Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi delivering a sermon on Friday in a well-known mosque in Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city.

ISIS has taken control of Mosul, and much of Iraq's north. The group has come within 45 miles of Baghdad.

“In terms of helping U.S. intelligence or the Iraqi government find him, I don’t think it offers much hope," Morell said on “CBS This Morning.”  “I don’t think it offers much help. Just because he was there on Friday doesn’t mean we know where he is today.” 

The new video served a purpose, Morell explained. First, Morell said al-Baghdadi’s constituents need to see him if he wants to recruit more followers. Secondly, he used the opportunity to push back against reports claiming he was injured or killed. 

Last week, al-Baghdadi urged Muslims around the world to travel to the Middle East to help him build his new Islamic state.

Last August, the State Department said it believed that al-Baghdadi was based in Syria and offered a $10 million reward for him in 2011 that would help lead officials to him.

Baghdadi's group has renamed itself the Islamic State and declared a caliphate across Iraq and Syria. 

Separately, Iraq’s parliament delayed its next session until mid-August on Monday because officials haven’t made any progress in reconciling political differences. They had been scheduled to meet again on Tuesday after they failed in their session last week to launch the process for a new government.