London: Islamic State’s reclusive chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has escaped from the terrorist group’s stronghold of Mosul as the Iraqi Army advanced for a final assault, British foreign secretary Boris Johnson said on Friday.
He said western intelligence sources believe Baghdadi is no longer in Mosul, The Guardian reported.
Baghdadi on Thursday broke his year-long silence and issued an audio recording, urging his jihadists to continue their fight to the end in Mosul, where he was believed to be hiding.
Johnson, in an unusual reference to intelligence, said Baghdadi’s audio recording was “cruelly ironic since some of the intelligence we have suggests he had himself vacated the scene and is yet using internet media to encourage others to take part in violence.”
Meanwhile, the ISIS militants killed seven members of Iraq’s security forces during a raid south of Mosul which pro-government troops are battling to recapture. The attack comes in the third week of the massive operation to retake Iraq’s second city from ISIS, which has already carried out diversionary attacks in other areas....