Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, religious scholar who became leader of the terrorist group Isil – obituary

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Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in Mosul in 2014 Credit: Reuters Telegraph Obituaries 27 October 2019 • 3:17pm Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who has died aged 47 or 48, apparently by his own hand, was a former religious scholar and keen football

player who emerged as the leader of the Islamist terrorist group, Isil, in 2010 and became one of the world’s most wanted men. Isil is the successor group to al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), whose founder, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, became famous by posting his decapitation of the American contractor Nick Berg on YouTube. Zarqawi’s speciality was orchestrating the massacring of crowds of Shia Muslims with suicide car bombs. He was killed in a US bombing raid in 2006. His first replacement, Omar al-Baghdadi, was killed, also in an airstrike, in 2010. Abu Bakr al-