Iraqi official says Islamic State chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi alive in Syria, being treated at field hospital

An Iraqi interior ministry official said the Islamic State group's head Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is alive and being treated at a field hospital in Syria after being wounded in an air strike.

AFP February 12, 2018 20:51:34 IST
Iraqi official says Islamic State chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi alive in Syria, being treated at field hospital

Baghdad: An Iraqi interior ministry official said the Islamic State group's head Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is alive and being treated at a field hospital in Syria after being wounded in an air strike. "We have irrefutable information and documents from sources within the terrorist organisation that al-Baghdadi is still alive and hiding" in Syria's northeastern Jazira region, said intelligence and counterterrorism department head Abu Ali al-Basri, quoted in the government daily As-Sabah.

Islamic State retains a significant presence in the desert plains of northeastern Syria's Hasakeh province despite having lost most of its cross-border "caliphate" which once also covered a
third of neighbouring Iraq. Basri said that Baghdadi was suffering from "injuries, diabetes and fractures to the body and legs that prevent him from walking without assistance".

The jihadist chief had been wounded in "air raids against Islamic State strongholds in Iraq". Iraqi authorities last week published a list of "internationally wanted terrorist leaders" headed by the
self-proclaimed Islamic State "caliph", born in 1971, under the name Ibrahim Awad Ibrahim Ali al-Badri al-Samarrai. Last June, Russia said it had probably killed Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in a late May air raid near Raqqa in Syria, but later said it was still trying to verify his fate.

In September, an American military chief said the jihadist chief was still alive and probably hiding in eastern Syria's Euphrates Valley.

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