Reports: ISIS leader Al-Baghdadi alive, but wounded in northern Syria
Photo by Al-Furqan Media/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is wounded and being treated at a medical facility in northeastern Syria, a senior Iraqi intelligence official told government-run newspaper al-Sabah on Monday. Al-Baghdadi was injured in an airstrike last May and forced to give up control of the terror group for up to five months while he recovered, according to CNN.
The backdrop: Al-Baghdadi is the elected "caliph" of the Islamic State and one of the most wanted men in the world. Rumors of his death or incapacitation have circulated at least a dozen times since 2015, but Iraq's Ministry of Interior is confirming the latest reports with a high degree of confidence.
"We have irrefutable information and documents from sources within the terrorist organisation that al-Baghdadi is still alive and hiding with the help of his collaborators."— Abu Ali al-Basri, Iraq's intelligence and counterterrorism department chief
Al-Baghdadi is reportedly being treated for "injuries, diabetes and fractures to the body and legs that prevent him from walking without assistance," as well as a "deteriorating psychological state," al-Basri said.
The U.S. Department of Defense stated that they have seen the reports, but have nothing to confirm at this time.