FILE - This file image made from video posted on a militant website April 29, 2019, purports to show the leader of the Islamic State group, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, being interviewed by his group’s Al-Furqan media outlet. The IS erupted from the chaos of Syria and Iraq’s conflicts and swiftly did what no Islamic militant group had done before, conquering a giant stretch of territory and declaring itself a “caliphate.” U.S. officials said late Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019 that al-Baghdadi was the target of an American raid in Syria and may have died in an explosion. (Al-Furqan media via AP, File)
People look at a destroyed houses near the village of Barisha, in Idlib province, Syria, Sunday, Oct. 27, 2019, after an operation by the U.S. military which targeted Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the shadowy leader of the Islamic State group. President Donald Trump says Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is dead after a U.S. military operation in Syria targeted the Islamic State group leader. (AP Photo/Ghaith Alsayed)
BEIRUT Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi sought to establish a new Islamic caliphate across Syria and Iraq, but he might be remembered more as the ruthlessly calculating militant leader of the Islamic State group who brought terror to the heart of Europe and set up a short-lived organization so extreme that it was shunned even by al-Qaida.