Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was seriously injured in a recent airstrike carried out by the Iraqi Air Force, according to Iraqi media.
The Iraqi television station al-Hura cited a security source saying Baghdadi and other senior members of the terror group were injured in an airstrike carried out by the Iraqi Air Force in the city of Qaim on February 9,. They were reportedly transferred to Syria for treatment.
The Iraqi air force reportedly carried out the airstrike that injured Baghdadi after receiving information from the Iraqi Falcon Intelligence Cell of his whereabouts.
The security source also said Baghdadi had been living in an underground bunker and was targeted while meeting with the jihadi group’s leadership.
Baghdadi has been reported wounded in airstrikes multiple times, but the claims have never been verified, and his apparent survival has added to his mystique.
In mid-December, the United States more than doubled the bounty on the shadowy IS leader’s head to $25 million.
ISIS group was originated as Jama’at al-Tawhid wal-Jihad in 1999, which pledged allegiance to al-Qaeda and participated in the Iraqi insurgency following the March 2003 invasion of Iraq by Western forces.
Al-Baghdadi apparently joined the insurgency that erupted after the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq, at one point spending time in an American military prison in the country’s south.
The group first proclaimed itself a worldwide caliphate and began referring to itself as Islamic State or ISIS in June 2014, after its fighters swept across swathes of Iraq and Syria during 2013 and 2014.
Al-Baghdadi appeared at the Great Mosque of Al-Nuri to proclaim a “state” straddling Syria and Iraq in front of thousands of Muslim faithful.
The video of the appearance in Mosul — which showed a man with a black and grey beard wearing a black robe and matching turban — is the only one IS has released of Baghdadi to date.
An American-led intervention in Iraq started on 15 June 2014, when President Barack Obama ordered US forces to be dispatched to the region, in response to offensives in Iraq conducted by ISIS.