Pentagon: ISIS Leader is Just Fine



Pentagon officials Monday refuted newfound assertions Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the self-proclaimed Islamic State, had been seriously injured in a coalition raid.

During a briefing with reporters Army Col. Steven Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, said al Baghdadi continues to lead the group and that the U.S. military has no reason to believe he was injured in a coalition air strike.

“We have no updates to his status,” Warren told reporters.

Privately, a senior U.S. official said there was no evidence in the intelligence available that al-Baghdadi had been injured, but rather suggestions that he was alive, healthy, and actively leading the group.

Yet defectors tell The Daily Beast that doctors had been brought to the Syrian city of Raqqa, where al-Baghdadi currently resides, to provide him medical care for shrapnel wounds in his spine that immobilized his left leg.

Reports first emerged last month that al-Baghdadi had been injured during a coalition air strike March 18 in Iraq. First reported by the Guardian, at least one Iraqi official, Hisham al-Hashimi told the British newspaper that al-Baghdadi was “wounded in al-Baaj near the village of Umm al-Rous on 18 March with a group that was with him” in a three-car convoy.

There have been several reports since then, with many asserting that a deputy, Abu Ala al-Afri, is leading operations. Other reports claim a bevy of leaders in the Shura Council are making operational decisions. Read more.

{CB Newscenter}