Iraqi officials and state television were reporting Sunday that airstrikes late Friday did wound Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
Al-Baghdadi was "critically wounded" when a U.S.-led air strike targeted the western Iraqi border town of al-Qaim, tribal sources told Al Arabiya News Channel.
The Guardian reported earlier Sunday:
A key aide to the leader of Islamic State (Isis) has been killed in a US strike on a convoy near the Iraqi city of Mosul that destroyed 10 vehicles carrying a number of the group’s top militants.
Abdul Rahman al-Athaee, also known as Abu Saja, died in the attack on Friday. A key aide to the Isis leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, he travelled frequently with the group’s leadership.
Colonel Patrick Ryder, a spokesman at US central command, said on Saturday: "I can confirm that coalition aircraft did conduct a series of air strikes yesterday evening in Iraq against what was assessed to be a gathering of Isil [Isis] leaders near Mosul. We cannot confirm if Isil leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was among those present."
Some claimed that on Sunday, ISIS spokesman Mohammed al-Adnani tweeted: "Do you think the Caliphate would end with the Caliph's death? We announce leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is in well, and wish him a speedy recovery."
But others were skeptical, suggesting the account was fake and that the news of injury was a hoax.