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Report: Islamic State leader al-Baghdadi hurt in US-led strikes
Coalition airstrike targets a gathering of IS leaders in Iraqi province of Anbar; several other IS leaders said to have been wounded and killed.

Islamic State leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, was said to be critically wounded in a US-led airstrike in the city of Al-Qaim, on the Iraq-Syria border, tribal sources in Iraq told Al Arabiya on Saturday.

 

 

The sources added that a number of other Islamic State leaders were killed in the strike that targeted a gathering of Islamic State leaders in Iraq's western province of Anbar. Two witnesses also told Reuters of the strike that targeted the gathering.

 

MP for Iraq's Anbar province, Mohammed al-Karbouli, told the Saudi network that coalition planes fired two missiles at a central area

in the city of al-Qa'im, causing dozens of deaths and injuries.

 

The wounded were taken to the local hospital, and the attack led to the blocking of all roads in the area. Witnesses told Reuters Islamic State fighters had cleared a hospital so that their wounded could be treated. Islamic State fighters used loudspeakers to urge residents to donate blood, the witnesses said.

 

Residents said there were unconfirmed reports that Islamic State's local leader in the western Iraqi province of Anbar and his deputy were killed.

  

Iraqi security officials were not immediately available for comment on the report, and US officials would not confirm or deny whether Baghdadi, the group's overall leader, had been targeted.

 

One US official said that air strikes were carried out against a convoy near the northern city of Mosul, about 280 km (170 miles) from al-Qa'im, and against small Islamic State units elsewhere, but the US-led air strikes had not targeted an Islamic State gathering.

 

TV channel Al-Hadath said dozens of people were killed and wounded in the strike in al-Qa'im, and that Baghdadi's fate was unclear. Al-Qa'im and the neighboring Syrian town of Albukamal are on a strategic supply route linking territory held by Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

 

Bombings 

The hardline Sunni Islamic State's drive to form a caliphate in the two countries has helped return sectarian violence to the dark days of 2006-2007, the peak of Iraq's civil war.

 

On Saturday night a car bomb killed eight people in Baghdad's mostly Shi'ite Sadr City, police and hospital sources said, bringing to 28 the day's toll from bombs in the Iraqi capital and the western city of Ramadi.

 

Two bombs exploded in separate attacks in Baghdad's mainly Shi'ite Amil district, said a police source. "A driver parked his car and went to a cigarette stall, then he disappeared. Then his car blew up, killing passers-by," the source said, describing one of the two attacks in Amil.

 

In the mostly Shi'ite al-Amin area of Baghdad, another car bomb killed eight people, medical sources said.

 

The attack by a suicide bomber on a checkpoint in Ramadi in Anbar killed five soldiers. "Before the explosion, the checkpoint was targeted with several mortar rounds. Then the suicide humvee bomber attacked it," said a police official.

 

"Some troops came to the scene. They were attacked by mortars. A confrontation took place for one hour."

 

There was no claim of responsibility for the bombings, but they resembled operations carried out by Islamic militants.

 

In the town of Baquba, 65 km (40 miles) northeast of Baghdad, a gunman killed a Shi'ite militiaman, and a car bomb targeting a police officer killed his 10-year-old son, security sources said.

 

More troops 

Western and Iraqi officials say US-led air strikes are not enough to defeat the al-Qaeda offshoot that holds parts of Iraq and Syria and is fighting to expand what it calls a caliphate.

 

Iraq must improve the performance of its army and security forces in order to eliminate the threat from the group, which wants to redraw the map of the Middle East, the officials say.

 

US President Barack Obama has approved sending up to 1,500 more troops to Iraq, roughly doubling the number of US forces on the ground, to advise and retrain Iraqis in their battle against Islamic State.

 

The United States spent $25 billion on the Iraqi military during the US occupation that toppled Saddam Hussein in 2003, and triggered an insurgency that included al-Qaeda.

 

Washington wants Iraq's Shi'ite-led government to revive an alliance with Sunni tribesmen in Anbar province which helped US Marines defeat al-Qaeda.

 

Such an alliance would face a more formidable enemy in Islamic State, which has more firepower and funding.

 

Police Colonel Shaaban Barazan al-Ubaidi, commander of a rapid reaction force in Anbar, said security forces retook eight villages. His account could not be immediately confirmed.

 


פרסום ראשון: 11.08.14, 19:51
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