Syria Islamist Eclipsing Al-Qaeda's Zawahiri as Jihadi Leader

(AFP) Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the shadowy leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), appears to be surpassing al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri as the world's most influential jihadist. "For the last 10 years or more, (Zawahiri) has been holed up in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border area and hasn't really done very much more than issue a few statements and videos," said Richard Barrett, a former counter-terrorism chief at MI6, Britain's foreign intelligence service. "Whereas Baghdadi has done an amazing amount - he has captured cities, he has mobilized huge amounts of people, he is killing ruthlessly throughout Iraq and Syria." King's College London Professor Peter Neumann estimates that 80% of the 3,000 Western fighters in Syria have joined the ISIL.

2014-06-05 00:00:00

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