Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, leader of the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), was “critically injured” on Friday (November 8) when U.S. air strikes hit the western Iraqi town of al-Qaim on the Syrian border.
That’s according to reports from the major Saudi Arabian news outlet Al-Arabiya, who cited tribal sources in the region.
While U.S. officials have yet to verify the reports of Baghdadi’s injury, they did confirm that American air strikes had targeted ISIS leaders somewhere near the group’s main hub in Mosul (a city in northern Iraq) late Friday evening.
“This strike demonstrates the pressure we continue to place on the ISIL [ISIS] terrorist network and the group’s increasingly limited freedom to maneuver, communicate and command,”
U.S. Central Command said in a statement.
Mohammad al-Karbul is an Iraqi Parliament member from the Anbar Province in western Iraq (al-Qaim is part of Anbar province).
Talking to Al-Arabiya about these recent developments, he corroborated the reports that U.S. air strikes had targeted a group of ISIS leaders in al-Qaim, telling the Saudi news channel that the strikes had killed dozens of people and injured many more.
According to Al-Arabiya,
“Karbuli said chaos ensued [during] the air raid with ISIS members scrambling to transport their wounded to al-Qaim hospital which was overwhelmed with the number of patients.”
A story from Reuters news agency quoted two witnesses who also said American air strikes had targeted a house where ISIS leaders were meeting near al-Qaim.
The witnesses say ISIS fighters cleared a hospital after the air strikes so that they could treat their wounded there, and were urging locals to donate blood over a loudspeaker.
Reuters also quoted a number of residents who said word was going around that ISIS’ local leader in Anbar had been killed, along with his deputy. These reports are still unconfirmed, however.
Read the original report from Al-Arabiya.