11/10/2014, 00.00
IRAQ
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Conflicting news on the fate of the "Caliph" Al-Baghdadi

Some sources say that he is wounded, others deny it. It seems it was a close associate killed. The US deploy 1,500 soldiers as advisers in the fight against the Islamic State. The al-Baghdadi group has ousted al Qaeda.

Baghdad (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The fate of the leader of the Islamic State, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is still unclear. According to some statements he was wounded in an air raid two days ago, but others say that he is alive and unharmed. Even among Islamist allies there are conflicting positions.

Al-Baghdadi, a 40 year-old Iraqi militant from Samarra, he transformed a local branch of al-Qaeda into an international army, becoming perhaps the most important figure in the worldwide jihadist community. On 13 June, after conquering the Nineveh Plain, , he declared himself "Caliph" in the great mosque of Mosul demanding obedience and holy war from all Muslims in the world.

An anonymous Iraqi interior ministry source said that al-Baghdadi was injured while he was in a meeting with his cohorts in the city of Qaim, in Anbar province, 460 km from Mosul. A senior Iraqi military source says instead that the leader of the Islamic State (IS) was wounded near Mosul. Both cited sources close to al-Baghdadi and said that a close associate of the "Caliph", Abdur Rahman al-Athay, also known as Abu Sajar, was killed in the bombing.

For its part, the Pentagon says it has no precise information sufficient to confirm or deny the wounding of al-Baghdadi.

Even on some fundamentalist Twitter pages there are those - attributed to the IS spokesman, Mohammed al-Adnani - wishing a "speedy recovery" for al-Baghdadi claiming that "the Caliphate will not end with the death of the caliph." But others say reports of an injury are fake spread - they say - by Jordanian intelligence.

Al-Arabiya says that al-Baghdadi was injured; Al-Jazeera says instead that the news is false.

Meanwhile, US President Barack Obama, has said he will increase US troops stationed in Iraq by 1,500. They will not have combat tasks, but will be advisers to help prepare a "new phase" of the fight against the IS.

Until now, since his proclamation as Caliph of all Muslims in the world, al-Baghdadi has received the support of a few fundamentalist fringe groups. The IS, however, has become the reference point for the holy war, especially among young people, ousting al-Qaeda, now considered out dated.

 

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