It was announced on Tuesday that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, leader of infamous ISIL, is dead. This followed the news that city of Mosul is taken over and that jihadists are no longer there or are in hiding. Mosul was one of strategically most important spots to ISIS as they conquered a major parts of territory from there.
The information about Abu Bakr’s death came from the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, organization that is keeping eye on warfare for some time. They specified they obtained this information from top of the Islamic State.
It has been alleged several times before that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is dead, but never confirmed. The Pentagon stated they have no evidence to verify the death of the leader of Islamic State.
If this information turned out to be true it will be a vast loss for jihadists in addition to losing Mosul which is taken after a exhausting long mission, as said by Haider al-Abadi, Irakian Prime Minister.
Rami Abdel Rahman, Obeservatory director said, “Top tier commanders from IS who are present in Deir Ezzor province have confirmed the death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, emir of the Islamic State group, to the Observatory.” adding, “We learned of it today but we do not know when he died or how.”
He also said Observatory had information Baghdadi “was present in eastern parts of Deir Ezzor province”, but don’t now if he died there. Deir Ezzor is currently under ISIL control.
ISIS did not state anything concerning this information.
The US-led coalition spokesman said “they can’t verify this information, but are hoping it is true”. He also added “We strongly advise ISIS to implement a strong line of succession, it will be needed.”
This is not the first time reporting that Baghdadi died, most recent report was made by Russia last month. They were looking for evidence to confirm their bombing in May killed him.
Knowing there is a $25 million US bounty on his head, ISIS leader remained in disguise and was reported to travel constantly across ISIS territory.
Baghdadi remained unseen ever since his first public appearance at the Grand Mosque of Al-Nuri in Mosul in 2014. The Mosque was destroyed by ISIS before Iraqi forces came to the city.
Operation of taking over Mosul, a city taken by the jihadists in 2014, begun in October. Iraqi Prime Minister declared this mission successful adding “a victory over darkness, a victory over brutality and terrorism” was achieved.
The cost of this mission’s victory was very large. Now a big part of Mosul is in ruins, there are thousands of dead and wounded and about half of the citizens left their houses.
Security forces are engaged in finding the rest of ISIS soldiers that are in hiding, mostly in Old City in Mosul that has been devastated in this conflict.
“What we are doing today is just combing the area and clearing it of sleeper cells,” said Staff Lieutenant General Sami al-Aridhi, a senior commander in Iraq’s elite Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS) adding, “There are groups that are hiding in shelters.”
According to th UN only small part of 920,000 people in total who went from their homes, got back.
However, there are some critiques referring the Iraqi forces and the US-led coalition. Amnesty International blamed them for “relentless and unlawful attacks” in some parts of Mosul. They said, “Pro-government forces launched barrages of indiscriminate or disproportionate attacks using explosive weapons unsuitable for such a densely populated urban area.