Iraqi intelligence official claims Daesh ringleader Baghdadi 'alive' in Syria


It quoted United States officials who said Baghadi had to relinquish command of ISIS for up to five months because of the injuries he sustained in the missile attack.

USA intelligence agencies have assessed with a high degree of confidence that the world's most wanted man was near Raqqa, Syria, when the missile struck, the officials said on Sunday.

Basri said that Baghdadi was suffering from "injuries, diabetes, and fractures to the body and legs that prevent him from walking without assistance".

The Iraqi official said that Al-Baghdadi, with a $25m United States bounty on his head - is now in Syria's Jazeera desert, west of Deir Az Zor.

Iraq's leading daily al-Sabah has quoted Abu Ali al-Basri, Iraq's intelligence and counter-terrorism department chief, on Monday, saying that al-Baghdadi sustained serious wounds to his legs during air raids in Iraq.

In June 2016, Turkish media reported that al-Baghdadi had been killed in a US airstrike in Raqqa, Syria, but this was never confirmed.

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Baghdadi has made only one public appearance, in July 2014, in the al-Nuri Mosque in Mosul, which was retaken by Iraqi security forces in June past year.

The jihadist chief had been wounded in "air raids against [ISIS] strongholds in Iraq".

Baghdadi has been rumoured dead many times.

There have been multiple reports of al-Baghdadi's death over the years that were later proven to be false. Iraqi authorities last week published a list of "internationally wanted terrorist leaders" headed by the self-proclaimed ISIS "caliph", born in 1971, under the name Ibrahim Awad Ibrahim Ali al-Badri al-Samarrai.

He may have been a cleric in a mosque in the city around the time of the US-led invasion in 2003.

A month later, an unnamed local source in Iraq's Nineveh province told Iraq's Arabic-language al-Sumeria satellite television network that Daesh had announced the death of its leader in a brief statement released via the terrorist group's media outlet in the center of Tal Afar city, situated 63 kilometers west of Mosul, without providing further details.