WASHINGTON, Dec. 17 (UPI) -- The United States more than doubled a reward for information leading to the capture of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi to $25 million, saying he is responsible for thousands of deaths and poses an increasing threat.
"Under Baghdadi, [the Islamic State] has been responsible for the deaths of thousands of civilians in the Middle East, including the brutal murder of numerous civilian hostages from Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States," the state department said. The group is also known as ISIS, ISIL and Daesh.
The State Department said Baghdadi has taken credit for terror attacks in areas that include Iraq, Beirut and Paris. He is also known as Abu Du'a, Ibrahim Awwad Ibrahim and Ali al-Badri.
"Protecting the homeland and the American people is our top counterterrorism priority, and just as we have intensified our efforts against [the Islamic State], we are increasing the means available to us to gain information on their leadership and bring them to justice," the State Department said.