On November 29, Brigadier General Yahya Rasool, a spokesperson for the Iraqi Army, told Fox News TV that ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is lightly injured and currently hiding on the Syrian-Iraqi border.
“We have a lot of information. He is alive, moving between the Iraq and Syria border in desert areas,” Brig. Gen. Rasool told Fox News.
The Iraqi Army spokesperson also said that al-Baghdadi was injured in an Iraqi airstrike on al-Qa’im city on February 11. Many bodyguards of al-Baghdadi were killed in the airstrike, according to Brig. Gen Rasool.
However, a spokesman of the US-led coalition told Fox News that there were no verifiable reports on al-Baghdadi’s health or whereabouts.
“The target was accurate. We hit the right place … But he is a clever man. He has been doing this a long time. He knows how to move to protect himself,” Brig. Gen. Rasool said.
Brig. Gen. Rasool added that “ISIS as an organization still exists” and revealed that dozens of ISIS fighters are still hiding in underground shelters in remote areas in Iraq.
The Iraqi Army and the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) are currently conducting a military operation to liberate the al-Jazzer region in western Iraq, where the remaining ISIS fighters are currently situated. However, the operation was halted on November 25 after liberating 50% of al-Jazeera in order to fortify the liberated areas and precent any possible counter-attacks by ISIS.
Iraqi government forces will likely resume their advance in the al-Jazeera region in the upcoming days.