The US intelligence community believes with a high degree of confidence that Daesh (outlawed in Russia) terrorist group leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was wounded in an airstrike carried out by either the United States or Russia in May 2017, CNN reported.
Intelligence officials believe Baghdadi had to relinquish control of the Daesh terror group for five months after he suffered non-life threatening injuries in the attack near the Syrian city of Raqqa, US media reported, adding that the estimation is based on reports from Daesh detainees and refugees in northern Syria.
US intelligence officials cannot say the exact date of the strike and are therefore uncertain whether the United States or Russia fired the missile that left Baghdadi wounded, the report said.
“There have been isolated strikes by Russians in Raqqa, but as there’s no timeline for it, we don’t know if it’s ours,” a US official told CNN.
In June 2017, Russia’s Defense Ministry said it was investigating the possibility that Baghdadi was killed in a strike carried out by the Russian Aerospace Forces on May 28 in the southern suburbs of Raqqa.
According to the latest data, cited by global media outlets, the chief terrorist is hibernating somewhere between the Iraqi and Syrian borders.
As far back as 2011, the US officially named Baghdadi a terrorist and offered a reward of up to $25 million for information leading to his capture or death.
Al-Baghdadi made his last public appearance in 2014, one year after he escaped from al-Qaeda. Back in June 2014 he appeared on the stage of a landmark mosque in Mosul, a Daesh stronghold back then and anointed himself as the caliphate leader.
He has since released an array of updated audio recordings from anonymous locations, which immediately raised a lot of questions about him being dead or alive.