Islamic State chief Baghdadi seeks return to Iraq after Syria’s caliphate fall

The leader of Islamic State, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, declared the formation of the group’s caliphate from a mosque in Mosul in 2014 ( AP )

Baghdad ( – An Iraqi intelligence officer has claimed that Islamic State chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdad has sought to return back to Iraq over the past few weeks after many of his supporters were killed in Syria’s military campaigns.

“Al-Baghdadi has been trying to enter Iraq for weeks, but he could not due to the strict security measures applied on the Iraqi-Syrian border,” the officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Russia Today TV channel on Saturday.

“Al-Baghdadi is currently hiding in Jabal Abu Rajmin in the Syrian city of Palmyra, backed by some close aids, mostly of Saudi, Tunisian and Iraq nationalities,” the officer said, adding that the murder of a large number of Islamic State militants in Syria “prompted Baghdadi to seek return to Iraq.”

No reports about al-Baghdadi have been heard since September 2017, when he urged supporters to wage attacks against the West and keep fighting in Syria and neighboring Iraq.

Al-Baghdadi emerged as leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq, one of the groups that later became Islamic State, in 2010. In October 2011, the US officially designated al-Baghdadi as a terrorist. It has offered a reward of up to $25m (£19.6m) for information leading to his capture or death.


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