ReutersThe man purported to be the reclusive leader of the militant Islamic State, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi during his first public appearance at a mosque in Mosul July 5, 2014.
Time magazine has controversially named "brooding muezzin of death" Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi — the Islamic State (Isis) leader — as the runner-up for its Person of the Year.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who opened her nation's border to hundreds of thousands of refugees and managed Europe's debt crisis, meanwhile, was named Time's Person of the Year.
Baghdadi was chosen by the publication's editors because "as leader of Isis, [he] has inspired followers to both fight in his self-declared caliphate of Iraq and Syria, and also stage attacks in countries like Tunisia and France."
In an article that followed the announcement, Time journalist Massimo Calabresi referred to Baghdadi's ability to rally jihadists to his call, "killing hundreds of innocents at hotels, mosques and concert halls from Paris to the Sinai, Beirut to San Bernardino."
In 2015, the IS (Daesh) leader transformed a breakaway al-Qaeda group into a "transnational terrorist franchise," killing more than 1,600 people in over 80 attacks in 20 countries in 18 months.
These dramatic figures make Baghdadi's IS arguably the world's deadliest terror group, especially after militant group Boko Haram pledged allegiance to it in March.
Who is Baghdadi?
It is believed the self-appointed caliph of the Sunni caliphate that straddles parts of Syria and Iraq, whose name is believed to be Awwad Ibrahim Ali al-Badri al-Samarrai, was born in Samarra, north of Baghdad, in 1971 and joined the insurgency that erupted in Iraq soon after the 2003 US-led invasion.
He holds degrees in Islamic Studies, including poetry, history and genealogy, from the Islamic University of Baghdad.
He emerged as the leader of AQI (Al-Qa'ida in Iraq) in 2010, after its former leaders were killed in an attack by US and Iraqi troops. Three years later, Baghdadi released an audio statement in which he announced the AQI and Jabhat al-Nusra terror groups were officially merging under the name Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (the Levant, Isil).
Baghdadi has the reputation of a highly organized and ruthless battlefield tactician who seldom appears in the media and rarely reveals his face, even to IS members. For this reason, he has been dubbed "the invisible sheikh."
In a video published on July 2014, the fighter called on Muslims to obey him and join the caliphate. "I am the wali [leader] who presides over you," he said in the video, "though I am not the best of you, so if you see that I am right, assist me. If you see that I am wrong, advise me and put me on the right track, and obey me as long as I obey God in you."