Iraqi security forces said on October 11 that they bombed the convoy of Islamic State (IS) leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in an air strike near the country’s border with Syria, though his fate remained unknown.
"Iraqi air forces have bombed the convoy of the terrorist Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi while he was heading to Karabila to attend a meeting with Daesh (IS) commanders," Iraq’s security forces said in a joint statement.
"The location of the meeting was also bombed and many of the group's leaders were killed and wounded. The fate of murderer al-Baghdadi is unknown and he was carried away by a vehicle. His health condition is still unclear," the statement said.
Reuters cited local residents and hospital sources as saying that several senior IS figures were killed in an air strike in Karabila but that Baghdadi did not appear to be among them.
Karabila is located on the Euphrates some five kilometers from the Syrian border in western Anbar, a large Iraqi province that has long been a stronghold of Sunni insurgents.
The Iraqi statement was released by the “war media cell,” a structure which provides updates on the war against IS and speaks for the defense and interior ministries and the paramilitary Popular Mobilization forces.
There have been unconfirmed reports in the past claiming that the IS leader had been wounded or killed.
AFP cited Iraqi Interior Ministry spokemsan Saad Maan as saying that the strike was carried out at noon on October 10.
A U.S. military official in Washington told AFP: "We've seen the Iraqi statement about al-Baghdadi but have no info that confirms it."
Baghdadi is believed to have been born in 1971 in the city of Samarra, but little else is known about him. The United States has placed a $10 million bounty on his head.