Iraq claims it has attacked a convoy in the Anbar province and wounded the purported leader of the Islamic State, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
“The Iraqi air force carried out a heroic operation by striking al-Baghdadi’s convoy while he on his way to attend a meeting with senior ISIS leaders in Karabelah,” a statement released by the Iraqi military said.
The Iraqi military said al-Baghdadi’s convoy was struck as it was “moving towards Karabla to attend a meeting of the Daesh (IS) terrorist leaders.”
In November Iraq’s Ministry of Interior claimed it wounded the ISIS boss and killed several top level leaders in an airstrike in al-Qaem near Falluja.
The U.S. also said it injured al-Baghdadi during a raid in al-Baaj outside of Mosul in northwestern Iraq in March.
It was reported Abu Alaa al-Afri had been appointed deputy leader of the Islamic State after the air raid in November.
Statement Comes After Iraqi Deal to Collaborate with Russia, Iran and Syria
In late September the Iraqi military’s Joint Operations Command announced it will share intelligence on ISIS with Russia, Iran and Syria.
“We recognize that Iraq has an interest in sharing information on ISIL with other governments in the region who are also fighting ISIL. We do not support the presence of Syrian government officials who are part of a regime that has brutalized its own citizens,” said Col. Steve Warren, spokesman for the U.S. coalition.
Disputed Document Claims al-Baghdadi is a U.S. Intelligence Asset
Suspicions about al-Baghdadi arose after declassified military documents revealed he was a “civilian detainee” captured by U.S. intelligence in Fallujah.
He was reportedly held at Camp Bucca, a military detention camp outside of Umm Qasr, Iraq.
James Skylar Gerrond, a former US Air Force security forces officer and a compound commander at Camp Bucca in 2006 and 2007, said last year he believed Baghdadi’s stay at the prison contributed to his radicalization.
Re: Badghadi–Many of us at Camp Bucca were concerned that instead of just holding detainees, we had created a pressure cooker for extremism
— James Skylar Gerrond (@JimmySky) July 7, 2014
According to a document released by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, al-Baghdadi is an intelligence asset.
The validity of the document is disputed.
Earlier reports indicated al-Baghdadi may in fact be a fictional character.
In 2007 U.S. Brigadier General Kevin Bergner, the chief American military spokesman, “said the elusive Baghdadi was actually a fictional character whose audio-taped declarations were provided by an elderly actor named Abu Adullah al-Naima,” The New York Times reported.