Baghdad: The feared face of global terror ISIS chief Abu-Bakr-Al-Baghdadi was severely injured during an air-strike in Western Iraq, according to a report of ‘The Guardian’.
Baghdadi’s wounding led to urgent meetings of ISIS leaders, who initially believed he would die and made plans to name a new leader.
Two separate officials – a western diplomat and an Iraqi adviser – separately confirmed that the strike took place on 18 March in the al-Baaj a district of Nineveh, close to the Syrian border. There had been two previous reports in November and December of Baghdadi being wounded, though neither was accurate.
The diplomat confirmed that an air strike on a three-car convoy had taken place on that date between the village of Umm al-Rous and al-Qaraan. The attack targeted local Isis leaders and is believed to have killed three men. Officials did not know at the time that Baghdadi was in one of the cars.
Hisham al-Hashimi, an Iraqi official who advises Baghdad on ISIS, told the Guardian: “Yes, he was wounded in al-Baaj near the village of Umm al-Rous on 18 March with a group that was with him.”
Baghdadi had at least one earlier brush with death when US jets attacked a two-car convoy on the outskirts of Mosul on 14 December. His close aide Auf Abdul Rahman al-Efery was killed when a rocket fired from a war plane hit one of the cars. Baghdadi was believed to be in the second car, which was not hit.
In recent months, air strikes have been increasingly effective in targeting the ISIS leadership. Baghdadi’s deputy, Abu Muslim al-Turkmani, and the head of the group’s military operations in Iraq were both killed in early December.
After seizing control of a large chunk of Iraq and Syria last June, and threatening Baghdad and Irbil, Isis has recently lost substantial ground in both countries. An offensive led by Shia militias and the Iraqi military took back Iraq’s fourth city, Tikrit last month, as well as close to 7,000 sq km in the centre of the country.