ISIL Leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi Is Still in Iraq, Hiding Somewhere Outside Mosul
Spokesman of Hashd al-Shaabi (the Iraqi volunteer forces) Ahmad al-Assadi has said on Monday Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, is in a region between the town of Tal Afar and the town of al-Baaj in Iraq, hiding somewhere outside Mosul.
"The terrorist, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, is in a region between the town of Tal Afar (some 54km North-West of Mosul) and the town of al-Baaj (157km to the South-West of Mosul)," al-Assadi was quoted as saying by Iraq's al-Ma'louma news agency on Monday.
He also said that the operations of the volunteer forces cover an area 14,000 sq/km around Mosul that includes the towns of al-Hazar, al-Baaj and its surrounding regions towards Tal Afar; FNA reported.
Based on an agreement made earlier, the Iraqi popular forces and Peshmarga Kurdish troops will not be part of the invading forces inside the two cities of Tal Afar and Mosul, while they will help tighten and maintain the siege on the rims of the two cities. Various units of Iraq's armed forces, including the army, police and anti-terrorism troops, lead the assault.
Al-Assadi's statement is the last in a string of reports on the fate of the notorious ISIL leader. During the last several months, many contradictory reports have surfaced the media about the health conditions and location of Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi.
A prominent Iraqi military analyst said in late October that Riyadh and Ankara had hatched plots to transfer al-Baghdadi from Mosul to Libya, but the massive presence of the popular forces and Russian fighter jets along the bordering areas of Iraq and Syria dissuaded them.
"The two countries were working to take al-Baghdadi to Turkey either by moving him through Mosul and Kirkuk to the North or through al-Qa'em and al-Ratba corridor to Deir Ezzur in Syria and then to Turkey to eventually transfer him to Libya," Safa al-A'asam told al-Ma'louma.
He added that the ISIL concluded that transferring al-Baghdadi through Tal Afar region to Raqqa in Syria is also impossible given the massive presence of Hashd al-Shaabi in the Southern front near Baaj district, South-West of Mosul and Northwest of the province of Nineveh, as well as the numerous flights done by the Russian fighter jets over the Syrian bordering areas with Iraq.
"The ISIL is now working to find a different path through the Iraq-Syria borders to take al-Baghdadi to Turkey and then to Libya or any other countries," al-A'asam said.
The statements came as reports from western Iraq said earlier in October that al-Baghdadi has succumbed to his fatal injuries and died in a region along the border with Syria.
"Al-Baghdadi had been severely wounded in the Al-Anbar battle in Western Iraq last month (September), and his wounds were so lethal that he could not move freely at all," a local Iraqi source told the Arabic service of the Russian Sputnik news agency in mid October.
The source said despite long treatment in Mosul, the general health conditions of the ISIL leader deteriorated due to "a deep abdominal cut, damage to his liver and crippling wounds in his left limbs".
The source said al-Baghdad lost his life in the town of Al-Baaj some 100km (60 miles) West of Mosul near the border with Syria, but his death is concealed to avoid the loss of morale among ISIL ranks who are faced with a tough war in Mosul and Syria these days.
There have been numerous reports on the fate or location of the ISIL leader in the last two years. As the war ravages over the self-proclaimed capital of the terrorist cult, Mosul, in Western Iraq, Arab media sources said earlier this month that al-Baghdadi had fled to Raqqa in Syria before the Iraqi army started its operations in Mosul, but his wife was taken.
According to Iraq's Sumeriya News, local sources in Nineveh quoted defected ISIL leaders as saying earlier this year that al-Baghdadi had managed to escape from Mosul to Raqqa, but one of his wives was arrested.
The defected militants stated that senior members of the terrorist group, called the ISIL police, rebelled against al-Baghdadi and called on his supporters to surrender themselves.
The source did not mention who captured Baghdadi's wife, but his words implied that she had been captured during a mutiny and by those who rebelled against the terror leader.
Another report also in early October claimed that accurate information showed Baghdadi's food had been poisoned by unknown individuals and the food was given to him in Baaj district.
Sumeriya News cited a local source in Northwestern Nineveh province as saying that al-Baghdadi and three of his aides had been transferred to an unknown location under strict measures.
Numerous reports had indicated from September or early October that al-Baghdadi and other top commanders of the terrorist cult started evacuating Mosul in anticipation of the Iraqi army's massive attack to take back the city.
The exact location of al-Baghdadi has been a subject of speculation. However the account on sighting al-Baghdadi has intensified the speculations that the ISIL leader was in Mosul before the start of Iraqi forces' operations to retake the strategic city.
Also reports said in June that al-Baghdadi had been seriously wounded in an airstrike in Western Iraq.
Local sources in Iraq's Nineveh province confirmed that Baghdadi and other leaders in the ISIL were wounded in an air raid on one of the ISIL command headquarters close to the Syrian border.
Baghdadi was seriously wounded by an airstrike on March 18, 2015, that killed the three other men he was travelling with.
He was said to be receiving treatment for spinal injuries after being wounded in that strike.
In mid-May, Iraq's local sources disclosed that al-Baghdadi returned to Iraq from Syria and hid in Nineveh province.
"Al-Baghdadi and a group of ISIL commanders have stealthily returned to Iraq's Nineveh province," the Arabic-language Sumeriya News quoted an unnamed local Iraqi source as saying at the time.
Al-Baghdadi returned to Nineveh province through ISIL-controlled desert roads in Iraq and Syria, added the source.
The source noted that Al-Baghdadi hi in an unknown place in Nineveh province.
The ISIL Leader is running a secret life as his life is at stake more than anyone in the world now. Al-Baghdad's terrorist group is under massive airstrike by the Syrian, Russian and Iraqi Air Forces all throughout the Western Iraq and Eastern Syria.
While reports earlier this year said the ISIL leader was always on the move between Iraq's Mosul and Syria's Raqqa - the self-proclaimed capital of the terrorist group - tips and intel revealed in November that al-Baghdadi had moved from the Syrian city of Albu Kamal to the Iraqi city of Mosul in Nineveh province.
In early March, informed intelligence sources disclosed that the al-Baghdadi had moved from Turkey to Libya to escape the hunt by the Baghdad Intelligence Sharing Center after he was traced down and allegedly targeted a number of times in Iraq and the Syria.
"Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi who was injured in Syria was sent to Turkey for treatment and from there he was sent to Libya," the Arabic-language media outlets quoted former Egyptian intelligence officer Hesam Kheirullah as saying.
In December, 2015 sources in Libya said al-Baghdadi had arrived in Sirte, the hometown of the slain Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, which is under the control of the Takfiri groups.
Then in October the same year, Iraq's air force bombed his convoy as he was heading to al-Karable to attend a meeting with ISIL commanders. 25 other ISIL militants were killed in the special operation that was the product of the Baghdad Intelligence Sharing Center where the latest intel arrives from Iranian, Russian, Iraqi and Syrian spy agencies round the clock.
The notorious terrorist leader escaped the attempt on his life narrowly, but with fatal injuries. Few hours after the assault, the spokesman of Iraq's joint forces declared that Al-Baghdadi was injured in the Iraqi airstrike on his convoy and was taken away from the scene by his forces.
The terrorist leader was first transferred to Raqqa, where surgeons saved his life but failed to give him a thorough treatment due to a lack of specialized medical equipment.
Sources disclosed a few days later that the ISIL leader had been taken to Turkey for treatment through a series of coordination measures by the CIA.
"The CIA has done the coordination with the Turkish intelligence service (MIT) for transferring al-Baghdadi to Turkey," the Arabic-language al-Manar TV quoted unnamed sources as saying.
The source said that two companions of al-Baghdadi who were also injured in the attack on the ISIL leader's convoy and were captured by the Iraqi forces confirmed that al-Baghdadi had been injured in the attack.
After specialists said al-Baghdadi needed months of recovery, one of his aides was appointed to run the cult until the so-called caliph would return to duty.
Al-Baghdad has, thus far, escaped several attempts on his life, making him suspicious of his team of bodyguards.
"While everyone is looking for him in Iraq and Syria, no one expects him to be in Sirte," the Libyan source told FNA, adding, "If he is to be exposed to danger, Sirte would be the last place on Earth for his life to be endangered as it is the safest Takfiri stronghold in the world."
The Syrian army, the National Defense Forces (NDF), the Lebanese Hezbollah and the Syrian and Russian Air Forces, as well as the Iraqi army and popular forces, Al-Hashed Al-Shaabi, have been conducting large-scale operations in Syria and Iraq to end the ISIL control over swathes of lands in the two countries.
Source: Al Alam