Baghdad: Islamic State’s self-proclaimed leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has been wounded in an air strike, reported Xinhua on Friday.
The so-called caliph was said to be travelling in a convoy with other senior ISIS figures when it was hit by jets operating under the banner of the international anti-ISIS coalition.
Iraqi news channel Al Sumariya TV claimed local sources in Iraq’s Nineveh province had confirmed that Baghdadi and other leaders in the Islamist group were wounded on Thursday in a coalition bombing raid on one of the ISIS command headquarters close to the Syrian border.
The Iraqi source said: “The planes of the international coalition yesterday bombed a location where there is a base of Isis members along the border area between Iraq and Syria, 65 kilometres west of Nineveh.”
He added: ”According to reports, the Isis leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, was injured along with some members of the organisation who were gathered at that meeting.
“The attack was carried out on the basis of precise intelligence information that led to strike its own that site.”
The area is one of the group’s strongholds, the source said, adding that “Baghdadi and the other ISIS leaders arrived in Iraq from Syria with a convoy of cars”.
A spokesman for the US-led coalition, Colonel Chris Garver, said that he had seen the reports but had “nothing to confirm this at this time”.
In recent years there have been a number of reports of his injury, and even death, but none have been confirmed.
Baghdadi was seriously wounded by an airstrike on March 18, 2015, that killed the three other men he was travelling with. He was said to be receiving treatment for spinal injuries after being wounded in that strike.
The injury left the terror chief incapacitated, with some claiming at the time that his injuries meant he would never again resume command. In 2011 the US State Department named Baghdadi as a terrorist and offered up to $10 million for information leading to his capture or death.
Baghdadi became the leader of the militant group in 2010 but it was only in 2014 that ISIS declared the establishment of a “caliphate” – a successor of past Islamic empires – in its territory in Syria and Iraq.