Baghdad (IraqiNews.com) – Islamic State (IS) chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is believed to be “clinically dead” after an Iraqi airstrike targeted him during a meeting with a host of IS leaders in Syria last June, a security source was quoted as saying.
“Iraqi warplanes launched an airstrike inside the Syrian territories in June, targeting a meeting of Islamic State leaders, where the group’s chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was present,” the source told AlSumaria News on Monday.
According to the source, the airstrike left al-Baghdadi mortally wounded and incapable of assuming his duties, prompting the group’s leaders to nominate Abu Othman al-Tunisi to succeed him.
The nomination of al-Tunisi, however, has caused severe disputes within the group.
“The strike also left a large number of Islamic State commanders dead and wounded,” added the source.
Al-Baghdadi has been reported killed or wounded on a number of occasions.
No reports about al-Baghdadi have been heard since September 2017, when he urged supporters to wage attacks against the West and keep fighting in Syria and neighboring Iraq.
Al-Baghdadi emerged as leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq, one of the groups that later became Islamic State, in 2010. In October 2011, the US officially designated al-Baghdadi as a terrorist. It has offered a reward of up to $25m (£19.6m) for information leading to his capture or death.