Islamic State (Isis) leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is believed to be hiding out in Nineveh, near Mosul, Iraq, according to a senior leader of al-Hashd al-Shaabi – the Popular Mobilization Units (PMUs) and like reported by ibtimes.co.uk .
A joint intelligence task for force between the PMUs and the Joint Operations Command is tracking Baghdadi’s movements.
“Initial information with the intelligence bodies tell that… Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi remains in Nineveh… as security forces impose control over the eastern side of Mosul, while the western side is totally isolated from Syrian territories,” Jawad al-Tleibawi a PMU spokesman said in an Iraqi News report.
The IS (Daesh) leader sleeps in a suicide vest, according to a spokesman for the US-led coalition’s Combined Joint Task Force in Iraq.
Col. John Dorrian said during a press conference at the Ministry of Peshmerga in Erbil on 10 January: “So what we’ve heard through intelligence and open sources, and I don’t know if we can verify these, is that he sleeps in a suicide vest, so we’ll see how that plays out.”
He added: “Al-Baghdadi is in hiding because he knows he’ll be killed when he’s found.”
In December, the US State Department increased the price tag for information leading to Baghdadi’s location and arrest from $10m to $25m.
Baghdadi has been at the helm of IS since 2014, with the declaration of an Islamic Caliphate. The extremist group have been pushed back from large swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria. The latest push is driving IS out of Mosul, the group’s last remaining stronghold in Iraq.
In the town of Tal Afar in western Mosul, a senior IS member died from his wounds sustained during an air strike, according to local sources.
“Daesh [IS] lost three of its senior leaders during the current month in Tal Afar due to successful airstrikes,” he said.
Iraqi forces claim they have liberated 90% of the eastern part of the city, and on Saturday (14 January), CTS forces clashed with IS fighters at Mosul University.
“We entered the university and cleared the technical institute, dentistry and antiquities departments,” Lieutenant General Abdelwahab al-Saadi of Iraq’s Counter Terrorism Service (CTS) told Reuters. “In the coming hours, it will be liberated completely.”
Iraqi officials have claimed that IS used the laboratory at the University of Mosul to make chemical weapons.
Military officials also say they have taken control of land along the east bank of the Tigris river. However, IS forces still holding ground in the western part of the country, on the Syrian border.