ISIL terrorist group’s ringleader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has died after suffering an advanced type of cancer, an Iraqi source said, adding that his successor will be declared soon.
The Arabic-language Baghdad News quoted a high-ranking security source as saying on Wednesday that Baghdadi was suffering from lung cancer and couldn’t make a move in the past few months.
He noted that the ISIL will possibly declare the name of its new chief soon in a bid to boost the morale of the terrorists and then will confirm his death.
The source said that the ISIL commanders are now in rivalry to take al-Baghdadi’s place.
In recent months, contradictory reports have surfaced the media on the fate of the ISIL ringleader.
Iraqi intelligence sources had claimed in August that al-Baghdadi had lost his brain functioning, adding that rifts are widening more than ever over his successor.
The Arabic-language Sumeriyeh news quoted the Iraqi sources as reporting that al-Baghdadi has lost his brain functioning due to the injuries he sustained in an Iraqi air raid on ISIL commanders’ meeting in Syria in June, adding that Baghdadi cannot move.
It further said that Baghdadi’s health condition which means his actual death has intensified unprecedented differences and rows among ISIL commanders over appointing his successor.
The news website further said that some of the non-Iraqi commanders of ISIL have picked up Abu Othman Tunisi as Baghdadi’s successor, while Iraqi commanders of the terrorist group have voiced strong opposition to his election.
A report said in May that al-Baghdadi – still the world’s most wanted man, with a $25 million bounty on his head – was believed to be very much at large, quite possibly in a desert area of Syria.
Multiple officials said Baghdadi was likely sheltering in a remaining ISIL bastion in the Euphrates River Valley on the Syrian side of the border with Iraq, Fox News reported.
“The last information we have is he is in Al-Hajin in Syria, 18 miles from the border in Deir Ezzur province,” Abu Ali al-Basri, director-general of the intelligence and counter-terrorism office at the Iraqi Ministry of Interior, told Fox News.
Al-Basri added that fresh information about Baghdadi’s whereabouts came as recently as the last couple of days, and was being used conduct a “multi-force raid” with Russian, Syrian and Iranian troops.
Iraqi Defense Ministry Spokesman Brig. Gen. Yahya Rasool confirmed to Fox that al-Baghdadi was thought to be alive, and that he might be located in the border area East of the Euphrates River, possibly in the town of al-Shadaddah in al-Hasaka province in Northeastern Syria.
“It’s not difficult for him to hide in the Syrian desert,” the officer added.
Experts also stressed that Baghdadi might not have any contact with other ISIL members, and never remains in areas when the fighting or strikes become too intense.
The Iraqi air force stepped up its attacks against ISIL targets in Syria.