Senior Islamic State commanders killed in Iraq airstrike
commanders of Islamic State were killed in an Iraqi airstrike near the
country’s border with Syria but the group’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, was
not among them, hospital sources and residents have told the Reuters news
The Iraqi military
claimed in a statement earlier that the raid had hit Baghdadi’s convoy as it
travelled to a meeting in Karabla, a town in the western province of Anbar.
The whereabouts of
Baghdadi, who has declared himself the leader of an Isis-controlled caliphate
in Iraq and Syria, have been unknown for long periods.
Karabla is located on
the Euphrates River, about three miles from the border with Syria. The
statement did not make clear when the strike was carried out.
“Iraqi air forces have
bombed the convoy of the terrorist Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi while he was heading to
Karabla to attend a meeting with Daesh commanders,” an Iraqi air force
statement said, using the Arabic acronym for Isis.
Iraqi security sources
have claimed in the past that Baghdadi has been injured or killed in strikes,
but those claims have never been verified or were later denied. In April it was
reported that he had been injured in a strike, but months later a voice
recording claiming to be Baghdadi was released in an attempt to dispel the rumour.
This time, a statement
was released by the “war media cell”, a structure that provides updates on the
fight against Isis and speaks for the interior and defence ministries as well
as the paramilitary Popular Mobilisation forces.
It said the operation
was conducted in coordination with Iraq’s interior ministry intelligence
services and the joint operation command centre that includes military advisers
from the US-led coalition.