The United States is getting more serious about its pursuit of the leader of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
Originally set at $10 million, the U.S. is now offering $25 million for any information leading to Baghdadi’s capture or location. This reward now puts the leader of the Islamic Sate on par with Ayman al Zawahiri, the leader of al Qaeda.
Baghdadi’s exact location has eluded American and international intelligence for years. However, he did recently break a long-held silence from the public eye in November with an audio message to followers during Iraqi force’s re-entrance into Mosul.
The up in reward comes as Iraqi forces continue to push back against ISIS strongholds and the Islamic State is viewed as slowly losing the war in the region.
“Protecting the homeland and the American people is our top counterterrorism priority, and just as we have intensified our efforts against ISIL, we are increasing the means available to us to gain information on their leadership and bring them to justice,” the State Department announced in a press release detailing the new cash prize for his whereabouts.
Baghdadi used to give high profile sermons at the Grand Mosque and appear in other notable places. As of now, his face hasn’t been seen in over a year as he continues to stay in deep hiding.