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ISIL Chief Allegedly Gives Sermon In Mosul

The man purported to be Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi appears in the video
The man purported to be Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi appears in the video

The head of the Islamic militants who control territory in Syria and Iraq has allegedly been shown giving a sermon in Iraq.

The video -- posted online on July 5 -- purportedly shows Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, head of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), speaking in a mosque in Mosul, which the militants captured last month.

Baghdadi, who on June 29 declared the establishment of an Islamic state on ISIL territory, ordered Muslims to obey him "as long as I obey God."

Baghdadi, wearing a black turban and a black robe, laid out the agenda of what has been declared the Islamic State (IS)

The sermon was allegedly given during Friday Prayers on July 4.

It is not possible to confirm the man in the video as Baghdadi, who IS officials have said is known as Caliph Ibrahim.

However, the Iraqi government denied the video was credible.

"We have analysed the footage... and found it a farce," Interior Minister spokesman Saad Maan told Reuters.

Maan said Baghdadi had been wounded recently in an Iraqi military air strike and transfered to Syria for medical treatment.

But an unnamed Iraqi intelligence official said, after initial review, the man in the video did appear to be Baghdadi.

The official added the arrival of a large convoy in Mosul around midday July 4 coincided with the blocking of cellular networks in the area.

The official said the cellular signal returned after the convoy left.

Plus, at least three witnesses in Mosul said they had seen a man introduced as Baghdadi preaching in a mosque in Mosul on July 4.

The witnesses said the man had entered the mosque accompanied by gunmen dressed in uniforms worn by IS militants.

"We held our breath out of fear and surprise," one worshipper told Reuters who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Based on reporting by AFP, AP and Reuters

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