A new report by the Iraqi National Army confirms that the Islamic State leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, has not only escaped the coalition retaking of Mosul, Iraq but has also taken 150 families hostage with him.
Earlier today the official Twitter account for the Iraqi National Army tweeted:
The tweet translates to:
Intelligence sources confirm that terrorist Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has fled Mosul and taken 150 families with him to shelter him from airstrikes.
It is unclear if the Iraqi National Army means 150 individuals or 150 families total, with an unclear number of individuals.
The Guardian reported 3 days ago that al-Baghdadi was no longer in Mosul, citing “western intelligence sources.”
His departure came around the time he released a 32-minute speech on ISIS terrorist channels for his followers in Mosul, telling them not to give up. According to a partial translation by CNN, he says:
God’s enemies from the Jews, Christians, atheists, Shiites, apostates and all of the world’s infidels have dedicated their media, money, army and munitions to fight Muslims and jihadists in the State of Nineveh after they witnessed it become one of the bases of Islam and one of its minarets under the Caliphate.
Nineveh refers to “Wilayat Ninawa,” ISIS’ name for the occupied Nineveh Governorate of Iraq.
Mosul fell to Iraq in June 2014. Last month, the American coalition, consisting of the Iraqi Army, the Kurdish Peshmerga, Shia militias, Christian militias, and the Turkish Nineveh Guard, descended upon Mosul to free it from the Islamic State. The official operation began on October 17 when it was announced by Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.
However, despite al-Baghdadi’s rally cry before fleeing, the numbers are against ISIS. CNN reports that there are about 5,000 ISIS militants in Mosul facing nearly 109,000 troops.