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Extraordinary Confession of Wife of Islamic State’s Top Leader

Umm Hudayfa, the first wife of late IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, is in prison in Iraq.

In a rare interview from prison, one of the widows of the leader of the Islamic State (IS) group has shared her version of their life together. Umm Hudayfa was the first wife of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and married him when he was in charge of the brutal IS regime in large parts of Syria and Iraq. He is now in an Iraqi prison while being tried for terrorism-related offences.

By BBC World

In the summer of 2014, Umm Hudayfa was living with her husband in Raqqa, a former IS stronghold in Syria.

As the wanted leader of the radical jihadist group, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi spent most of his time elsewhere, on one such occasion he sent a guard to his home to pick up his two young children.

“He told me they were going on a trip to teach the boys to swim,” says Umm Hudayfa.

She secretly saw that there was a television in the house. “I turned it on when he wasn’t home,” she says, explaining that it didn’t work.

He says that since 2007 he has been isolated from the world and is not allowed to watch television or use other technologies such as mobile phones.

A few days after the guard took the children, he says he turned on the television and got “a big surprise.”

She watched her husband deliver a speech at the Al-Nuri Grand Mosque in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, introducing himself as the head of the Islamic Caliphate for the first time.

It was only a few weeks after his fighters took control of the region.

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