These are the only two known photos of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. He is seen here on the left as a prisoner half a decade ago and on the right more recently as the shadowy head of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL, also known as ISIS
- WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT
- The U.S. once had Islamic State of Iraq and al-Shams (ISIS) leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi in custody at a detention facility in Iraq, it was revealed Friday
- Al Baghdadi was among the prisoners released in 2009 from the U.S.'s now-closed Camp Bucca near Umm Qasr in Iraq
- It is unclear why the U.S. let the merciless al Qaeda leader slip away
- Al Baghadadi and his troops took the Iraqi cities of Fallujah and Ramadi earlier this year and conquered Tikrit and Mosul within the last several days
- They are now bearing down on Baghdad, burning down everything that stands in their way and carrying out executions on Iraqi civilians, soldiers and police officers
- ISIS posted an image today of an officer's decapitated head tweeted with sickening message: 'This is our ball. It's made of skin #WorldCup'
By Francesca Chambers
13 June 2014
The United States once had Islamic State of Iraq and al-Shams (ISIS) leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi in custody at a detention facility in Iraq, but president Barack Obama let him go, it was revealed on Friday.
Al Baghdadi was among the prisoners released in 2009 from the U.S.'s now-closed Camp Bucca near Umm Qasr in Iraq.
But now five years later he is leading the army of ruthless extremists bearing down on Baghdad who want to turn the country into an Islamist state by blazing a bloody trail through towns and cities, executing Iraqi soldiers, beheading police officers and gunning down innocent civilians.
It is unclear why the U.S. let the merciless al Qaeda leader slip away, however, one theory proposed by The Telegraph is that al Baghadadi was granted amnesty along with thousands of other detainees because the U.S. was preparing to pull out of Iraq.
The United States began withdrawing troops from Iraq in 2010,and Camp Bucca closed in 2011 along with the United States' other military facilities as President Obama declared that the War in Iraq had come to an end.
Another possible explanation is that al Baghadadi did not become a jihadist until after his release from Camp Bucca.