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US, Iraqi Officials Can’t Confirm Report IS Leader Wounded in Airstrike

US, Iraqi Officials Can’t Confirm  Report IS Leader Wounded in AirstrikeUS, Iraqi Officials Can’t Confirm  Report IS Leader Wounded in Airstrike

US and Iraqi officials fighting the self-styled Islamic State terrorist group said on Friday they could not confirm a report by an Iraqi TV channel that IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi had been wounded in an airstrike in northern Iraq.

A spokesman for the US-led coalition fighting the radical militants, Colonel Chris Garver, said in an email that he had seen the reports but had “nothing to confirm this at this time”.

Kurdish and Arab security officials in northern Iraq said they also could not confirm the report, Reuters reported.

Al Sumariya TV cited a local source in the northern province of Nineveh saying that Baghdadi and other IS leaders were wounded on Thursday in a coalition airstrike on one of the group’s command headquarters close to the Syrian border.

The channel has good connections with Shia politicians and Iraqi forces engaged in the battle against IS.

There have been several reports in the past that Baghdadi, whose real name is Ibrahim al-Samarrai, was killed or wounded after proclaiming himself caliph of all Muslims two years ago.

The ultra-hardline group is under increased pressure in both Iraq and Syria, and the territory under its control has shrunk significantly since 2014, limiting the potential for its leaders to move around or seek shelter.

The US earlier this year announced an intensification of the war on IS with more airstrikes and more American troops on the ground to advise and assist allied forces.

 

Financialtribune.com