The Islamic State leader, Abu Bakr al Baghadi hasn’t yet recovered from the alleged March 2015 bombing that affected his health.
Defectors say that the leader has been moved amid tight security from Iraq to Raqqa in Syria, the terrorist army’s de facto headquarters, he sustained serious shrapnel injuries that left his spine damaged and his left leg immobile.
However, he is reported to still be very mentally alert as he is still able to issue orders, but due to his physical injuries, the IS’ governing council, Shura, is set to make a final decision on appointing a temporary leader who can physically move between front lines both in Syria and Iraq and who is also able to manage the daily leadership of the self declared caliphate.
The temporarily elected leader would be a ‘na’ib al-malik, or viceroy and would essentially be under the overall leadership of al-Baghadi. According to details given by debriefed IS defectors in Turkey, the election will be between well known figures within the terrorist army’s top leadership (two Iraqis and a Syrian).
The also revealed that a total of nine doctors were taken with the injured IS leader to Raqqa including a senior physician from Mosul’s general hospital and that to avoid attracting attention from US satellite surveillance and subsequent drone attacks or air strike, the convoy of medics, aides and bodyguards were split into separate groups. They also said that one doctor who persistently asked questions about the identity of the man he had been hired to operate on, he was promptly ordered to shut up.
The doctors were said to have originally being put in a military barrack in Al-Mishlab, a neighbourhood that is close to the city’s industrial district in Raqqa, the doctors were later divided into three groups and each group was put in different houses. The IS will effectively be able to secure drugs, equipment and added medical expertise when necessary since they close to Turkey.
Following the Guardian newspaper report that al-Baghdadi had been injured in a March coalition airstrike and the BBC quoting a spokesman for Iraqi’s interior minister as saying that the IS caliph had been badly injured in the airstrike said to have taken place on March 18, 2015, the US defense officials that since the reports, they had no idea as to the whereabouts of al-Baghdadi with some others denying knowledge of an airstrike on March 18.
Pentagon spokesperson Col. Steve Warren told the Daily Beast that “We have no reason to believe it was Baghdadi.” However, Hisham al-Hashimi, the Iraqi government adviser told the Guardian that in fact, al-Baghdadi was indeed “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. The strike aircraft was most likely a drone.
There have been no further confirmation or details about the supposed airstrike and added to the US caution and al-Baghdadi’s ‘invisibility’, rumours and skepticism has multiplied. There were similar reports of this kind of injury in November 2014 in Arab and Western media but those reports turned out to be inaccurate. Anothe report said last week that the IS leader had died from the March airstrike and insisted that a new leader had already been sworn in.