Islamic State leader Baghdadi wounded in Iraq air strike: report

22 April 2015

Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has been seriously injured in an air strike in Iraq, The Guardian newspaper reported.

Abu Bakr al-BaghdadiAccording to the report, Baghdadi sustained serious injuries in March during an attack by the US-led coalition forces. The leader, who had suffered near-fatal injuries initially had since made a slow recovery.

Baghdadi's injuries led ISIS leaders to call urgent meetings to name a new leader, in the belief he would not recover.

The ambitious Iraqi terrorist is believed to be in his early 40s and has a $10-million US bounty on his head.

After he took over the group in 2010, Baghdadi and his local branch of al-Qaida that transformed into an independent transnational military force, gained pre-eminenence in the global jihadi community.

The US-led coalition opposing ISIS had been launching airstrikes on Islamic State militants and facilities in Iraq and Syria for months as part of an effort to give Iraqi forces the time and space to mount a more effective offensive.

The Islamic State had made much headway in northern and western Iraq in a lightning advance in June and July 2014, that ended up throwing Iraqi forces into disarray.

Meanwhile, the Pentagon said Tuesday that US forces had no reason to think Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was wounded in an air strike against an Iraqi target last month.

According to Pentagon spokesman Colonel Steve Warren, who spoke to juornalists, the report appeared to have been "recycled" from a March story and that Baghdadi had not been a target of the raid in question.

"We said that there was nothing to indicate that Baghdadi had been wounded or killed," Warren said. "There's nothing to indicate that there's been a change."

US and Iranian-backed Iraqi forces and Shiite militias had made progress in recent weeks against the Sunni militants, as the group launched a counter offensive in western Iraq.

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