Islamic State’s leader has abandoned Mosul, say intelligence sources

NTD Staff
By NTD Staff
March 8, 2017News
Islamic State’s leader has abandoned Mosul, say intelligence sources
This July 5, 2014 photo shows an image grab taken from a propaganda video released by al-Furqan Media allegedly showing the leader of the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, aka Caliph Ibrahim, adressing Muslim worshippers at a mosque in the militant-held northern Iraqi city of Mosul. (- / AFP/ Getty Images)

Islamic State’s enigmatic leader is thought to have gone to ground to focus on his own survival, as his self-declared caliphate crumbles around him.

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi appears to have abandoned his followers in Mosul, leaving them to fight a losing battle, according to U.S. and Iraqi intelligence sources.

There is footage from the Islamic State purporting to show him delivering a sermon in the city last November, just weeks after its siege began.

In the sermon, he expressed confidence in victory.

It would be the last known footage of him.

Since then there’s been a sharp decline in the militants’ communications, including propaganda.

And the postings that do go up make little mention of Mosul.

The intelligence sources say the drop in chatter from Islamic State’s leadership, and the massive gains by coalition forces in the four-month siege, suggest he’s fled the city.

An elusive target, they believe he now changes locations constantly – multiple times in one day – likely hiding among civilians in isolated villages, rather with his hardcore fighters.

The last official report on his whereabouts came from an Iraqi air strike on a house near the Syrian border weeks ago.

With Mosul’s fall imminent and a battle raging for Islamic State’s stronghold in Syria, Raqqa, the group is now expected to move underground – similar to the al Qaeda insurgency that hit Iraq after the the U.S. invasion in 2003.

Baghdadi is a former al Qaeda leader.

Intelligence sources say he’s learned from his predecessors’ mistakes.


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