DAMASCUS – The chief of the militant Islamic State group, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi appeared for the first time in five years in a propaganda video released by the organization.

Though the video emerged on Monday, it is still not sure when it was filmed. Islamic State’s Al Furqan media network released the clip in which Baghdadi can be seen speaking for no more than 40 seconds.

Baghdadi did not laud the Sri Lankan Easter bombers through his own words, however, the text on the video says the same.

“The battle for Baghouz is over,” he said in the video showing him sitting cross-legged and addressing three men whose faces have been blurred.

But the IS chief insists that operations against the West by the militant group were part of a ‘long battle’ and that IS would avenge the killings of its members.

“There will be more to come after this battle,” he said. In the propaganda clip, he praises those behind the Sri Lanka attacks.

The 47-year-old had a long grey beard in the video and spoke slowly with pauses in the middle of his sentences.

Baghdadi last appeared in public in Mosul in 2014, where he declared a ‘caliphate’ in the swathes of territory IS then occupied in Syria and Iraq.

After that appearance, he was reported to have been killed or injured multiple times. His last voice recording was released in August.