Varying reports from Iraq and Syria suggest that Islamic State “caliph” Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has been killed and that “political leaders” have been called to the “capital” of Raqqa, Syria to choose his successor.
A tweet earlier today by @abbas_ir_aq writes, “Sources from the Russian intelligence announce the killing of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and call on ISIS leaders in Raqqa and Aleppo to come choose a successor.”
An Iraqi Sunni source told us two hours ago are running rumors about the death of the leader of the [ISIS], Abu Bakr al-Bagdhadi. And also rumors of convening – by the movement – a series of masters in Iraq and in Syria, which should elect the new “caliph” in your “political capital,” Raqqa.
However, according to The Jerusalem Post, al-Baghdadi may not be dead but in mortal danger. They write:
It remains unclear why the organization is searching for a successor to Baghdadi. While some speculate that the leader was killed in a Mosul offensive which started in October, some believe the leader is alive but in mortal danger.
In early November, the Iraqi National Army confirmed that al-Baghdadi had not only escaped Mosul, but that he had also taken 150 families hostage with him to protect him from airstrikes. Rumor had it that he escaped to Tal Afar, Iraq, 40 miles west of Mosul.
In late November, the spokesman for the Popular Mobilization Forces group League of the Righteous (aka Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq) stated that al-Baghdadi escaped Tal Afar.
His whereabouts have since been unknown. However, according to Reuters, al-Baghdadi had become increasingly paranoid about his survival and that the “caliph” rarely emerged from underground bunkers and slept in a suicide vest.