68th Day Of Lockdown

Maharashtra65168280812197 Tamil Nadu2024611313157 Delhi173877846398 Gujarat1635692321007 Rajasthan83654855184 Madhya Pradesh78914444343 Uttar Pradesh77014651213 West Bengal48131775302 Andhra Pradesh3461228960 Bihar3359120915 Karnataka292299749 Telangana2499141277 Jammu and Kashmir234190828 Punjab2197194942 Odisha17239779 Haryana172194019 Kerala120957510 Assam9361044 Uttarakhand493794 Jharkhand4621914 Chhatisgarh4471021 Chandigarh2891994 Tripura2711720 Himachal Pradesh223634 Goa70420 Manipur6060 Puducherry57230 Nagaland3600 Meghalaya27121 Arunachal Pradesh310 Mizoram110 Sikkim100
World Middle East 10 Jun 2016 US, Iraqi officials ...

US, Iraqi officials can't confirm reports on ISIS leader Baghdadi's injury

Published Jun 10, 2016, 9:26 pm IST
Updated Jun 10, 2016, 9:26 pm IST
A spokesman for the US-led coalition fighting the radical Islamist terrorists said that he had "nothing to confirm this at this time".
US and Iraqi officials couldn't confirm report by an Iraqi TV channel about the Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi been wounded in an air strike. (Photo: AP))
 US and Iraqi officials couldn't confirm report by an Iraqi TV channel about the Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi been wounded in an air strike. (Photo: AP))

Baghdad/Falluja:  US and Iraqi officials said today that they could not confirm a report by an Iraqi TV channel that ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi had been wounded in an air strike in northern Iraq.

A spokesman for the US-led coalition fighting the radical Islamist terrorists, Colonel Chris Garver, said in an email that he had seen the reports but had "nothing to confirm this at this time".


Kurdish and Arab security officials in northern Iraq said they also could not confirm the report.

Al Sumariya TV cited a local source in the northern province of Nineveh saying that Baghdadi and other ISIS leaders were wounded on Thursday in a coalition air strike on one of the group's command headquarters close to the Syrian border.

The channel has good connections with Shia politicians and Iraqi forces engaged in the battle against ISIS.

There have been several reports in the past that Baghdadi, whose real name is Ibrahim al-Samarrai, was killed or wounded after proclaiming himself caliph of all Muslims two years ago.

The ultra-hardline Sunni group is under increased pressure in both Iraq and Syria, and the territory under its control has shrunk significantly since 2014, limiting the potential for its leaders to move around or seek shelter.

The US earlier this year announced an intensification of the war on ISIS with more air strikes and more American troops on the ground to advise and assist allied forces.

The US-led coalition has regularly flown raids out of Erbil, the capital of Iraq's Kurdistan region, in operations aimed at killing and capturing ISIS leaders.

A Kurdish intelligence official and an Arab from the Baaj area west of Mosul said the US-led coalition had conducted such a raid there earlier this week. The coalition did not confirm this raid.

Kurdish Peshmerga forces are positioned in an arc around the north and east of Mosul while the Iraqi army is trying to capture Falluja, 50 km (30 miles) west of Baghdad.

The army's elite Counter Terrorism Service was battling on Friday in al-Shuhada, a southern district of Falluja, a Reuters photographer reported from the scene.

Loud explosions and bursts of gunfire were heard from the district, while aircraft believed to belong to the US-led coalition flew overhead.

Al-Shuhada marks the first advance of the army inside the built-up area of Falluja, after two weeks of fighting on the outskirts to complete the encirclement of the city.

The encirclement was completed with help from Iran-backed Shia militias. They deployed behind the army's lines and did not take part directly in the assault on the city to avoid inflaming sectarian feelings.

A government official said ISIS terrorists are putting up a tough fight defending the city that stands as a symbol of the Sunni insurgency that followed the US occupation of Iraq, in 2003.

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said the troops are progressing cautiously in order to protect tens of thousands of civilians trapped in Falluja.

The United Nations says 90,000 civilians may have remained in Falluja, under "harrowing" conditions with little access to food, water and healthcare, and no safe exit routes.

The insurgents have dug a network of tunnels to move around without being detected and planted thousands of mines and explosive devices to delay the army's advance.

Finance Minister Hoshiyar Zebari said a week ago that the battle of Falluja "will take time".

The Iraqi army is also massing tanks and troops south of Mosul, in preparation for an offensive planned later this year to retake the largest city under the control of the terrorists.

In Syria, Russian- and Iranian-backed Syrian government forces and US-backed Syrian opposition and Kurds are separately trying to advance on Raqqa, the group's capital in Syria.