THE LEVANT EXCLUSIVE – By Julia Lugovska – US-led strikes have targeted a gathering of Islamic State leaders in Iraqi town near the Syrian border late on Friday, 8 November. This meeting possibly included ISIS top commander Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, reported one of the local TV channels on Saturday and Sunday.
Iraqi officials were not available for the comments at the beginning, but some foreign journalists including Reuters and Al-Arabiya reporters told a US-led airstrike has targeted the house where the meeting of senior ISIS leaders was held.
Later on Sunday, 9 November, Iraqi officials have announced the airstrike has wounded Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi. Iraqi Minister of Defense and Minister of Interior made such announcements without any further details.
One of the Interior Ministry officials has spoken to the Associated Press journalist and told him there is information from within the militant group that the recent airstrikes really targeted and wounded ISIS commander, but there are no further details regarding Al-Baghdadi’s injuries. Iraqi militants have reportedly evacuated the hospital so that their wounded could be medically treated, and Al-Baghdadi was among those injured people. His deputy was reportedly killed as a result of an airstrike.
US officials have confirmed that the airstrikes of US and ally’s Armed Forces were carried out in the region and against a militant’s convoys near the city of Mosul and against some other militants’ checkpoints elsewhere close to the Syrian border, but it was stated those airstrikes didn’t target ISIS leaders’ gathering specifically.
Thus, as for now US officials and Pentagon do not confirm that Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi was a target of the airstrikes. The Pentagon also said on Monday, 10 November, that it cannot corroborate the recent reports about killing or wounding the ISIS prominent leader.
“We do not have any information corroborate reports out of Iraq that Baghdadi has been either killed or wounded,” Colonel Steve Warren, Pentagon spokesperson, said.
Meanwhile, the fate of the ISIS leader and prominent militant commander Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi remains unknown.