A covert force of 100 CIA spooks and special forces are hunting for ISIS Chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
The force is hunting for “the Ghost,” another name given to al-Baghdadi because of the difficulty in tracking him. It is the biggest counter-terrorism hunt since the one for Bin Laden and involves unmanned spy planes and other satellite and aircraft imagery.
A web of mystery has surrounded al-Baghdadi since he came to power. In fact, before appearing to give a sermon in July, there were only two authenticated photos of him.
Al-Baghdadi wears a mask to address his commanders, something that has earned him the title of the “invisible sheikh.”
Reports suggest that he was a cleric during the time of the US invasion of Iraq, although it is uncertain whether he was radicalized already or if he became radicalized during his stay at Camp Bucca, a US facility where many al-Qaeda leaders were detained.
Jihadist propaganda has painted him as a descendant of noble tribes and as someone who has a PhD from Baghdad’s Islamic University, possibly in Arabic.
Patrick Johnston of the RAND Corporation said:
He’s managed this secret persona extremely well, and it’s enhanced his group’s prestige. Young people are really attracted to that.
In his first appearance in video to the world, al-Baghdadi declared:
Oh people, the religion of Allah cannot be established (as the reason for our creation) except with the Sharia. This is the foundation of our religion, a book that guides and a sword that leads to victory. Your mujahideen brothers have been bestowed upon by Allah to achieve victory.
He went on to say:
For Jihad is the job that Allah has commanded, he made it honorable, there is no disgrace in Jihad.
According to one source:
Al-Baghdadi is elusive but he will be found eventually. His forces are stretched so phone calls will be made – that will be his weak point.
This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom