The Iraqi air force on Sunday claimed it had hit the convoy of Islamic State (IS) group leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in an air strike in the western Anbar province, close to the Syrian border. The condition of the militant leader remains unknown.
"The Iraqi air force carried out a heroic operation targeting the convoy of the criminal terrorist Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi," Iraq's security forces said in a statement, without clarifying when the alleged air strike took place.
“[The] fate of murderer al Baghdadi is unknown and he was carried away by a vehicle. His health condition is still unclear,” it said.
The military said the air force bombed the convoy as it moved towards Karabla, barely five kilometres from the border with Syria, where Baghdadi was planning to meet IS group commanders.
“The location of the meeting was also bombed and many of the group’s leaders were killed and wounded,” the military said.
Residents and medics in Karabla told the Reuters news agency that eight senior IS group figures had been killed in the strikes.
Iraqi security sources have in the past claimed that Baghdadi has been injured or killed in air strikes, but those claims have either been denied or never been verified.
A Twitter site which publishes statements from Islamic State said “rumours” that an air strike had targeted Baghdadi were false.
An IS group fighter reached by telephone could not confirm whether Baghdadi had been in a convoy that was struck, but said the group would fight on whatever his fate: “Even if he was martyred then it will not affect Islamic State. We will lose a leader but there are a thousand Baghdadis.”
The IS group has seized swathes of Syria and Iraq and in June declared a caliphate over territory it controls. Baghdadi said he had accepted oaths of allegiance from supporters in Libya, Egypt, Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Algeria.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP, REUTERS)
Date created : 2015-10-11