WASHINGTON — The price on the head of the leader of the Islamic State now matches the bounty for al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri.
The State Department said today that the price on Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi under the Rewards for Justice program has been increased to $25 million. Since October 2011, the reward for the ISIS leader had been $10 million.
Comparatively, the reward for Sirajuddin Haqqani, leader of the Haqqani Network, is $10 million, as are the rewards for Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, founder of the Islamist group behind Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, and Yasin al-Suri, al-Qaeda’s leader in Iran.
For Boko Haram leader Abubakr Shekau, a $7 million reward is offered; for Al-Shabaab leader Abu Ubaidah, the bounty is $6 million.
Baghdadi was named a Specially Designated Global Terrorist in 2011. The al-Qaeda in Iraq leader declared the establishment of the caliphate in June 2014.
U.S. officials have indicated since the launch two months ago of the Iraq-led and coalition-backed Mosul offensive that they don’t know where Baghdadi is.
Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL Brett McGurk this week called the self-proclaimed caliph “a total fraud” who “claims to have this unique lineage that makes him the caliph.”
“And he is now in deep, deep hiding,” McGurk told reporters. “…He is somewhere in hiding. And we also know he hides with slaves and all sorts of terrible things. I mean, this guy is one of the most despicable we’ve ever seen.”
The envoy vowed “we’re doing all we can to find and eliminate him.”