The Islamic State caliph leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, has been spotted alive in Mosul for the first time in over a year in a feigned attempt to stop the riots in his terror group’s final stronghold.
A source inside Mosul told an Iraqi TV network that al-Baghdadi was spotted in a white 4×4 truck, flanked by four armed men, after coming out of hiding. The source said,
“In Nineveh province on Tuesday, due to the unrest that has rocked Mosul, the ISIS caliph was forced to come out from his hideout.”
There had been speculation that al-Baghdadi had fled Mosul or even been killed after he disappeared off the radar following the capture of the Mosul in the summer of 2014. Now he’s been spotted and it’s only a matter of time before the squeeze is put on this man responsible for the barbaric atrocities ISIS has committed.
The last time al-Baghdadi was seen in public was two years ago, he is believed to have been hiding in amongst civilian populations to avoid detection since then. Rumors circulated that he was living in either Mosul or ISIS’ de facto capital Raqqa, in Syria.
Turkey and Iran have both previously said al-Baghdadi was dead following speculation that he was killed by a US airstrike on Raqqa back in June of this year (ISIS never confirmed the reports of his death on their official media channels).
Iraqi forces to the south and Kurdish Peshmerga to the north have completely surrounded the city in northern Iraq, cutting it off from the rest of ISIS’ shrinking ‘Caliphate.’ News that he is still in Mosul will raise the hopes of allied forces that they can soon capture the man seen as the figurehead of radical Islam and bring his reign of terror to an end.
If captured he could be subjected to the death penalty like former dictator Saddam Hussein, who was hanged following the 2003 invasion for crimes against his own people. Al-Baghdadi’s ISIS have been guilty of committing horrendous atrocities including genocide, mass murder, rape and bringing back slavery on an industrial scale.
US officials have hinted that an attack on Mosul could be “imminent” after President Obama met the Iraqi prime minister Haider al-Abadi to talk about its liberation earlier this week.
Despite the news al-Baghdadi was spotted in Mosul, the worst is yet to come with the battle for Mosul projected to be the bloodiest and deadliest yet; ISIS having two years to embed themselves in Iraq’s second largest city and prepare defenses as well as using civilians as human shields and booby traps to slow down allied forces just as they did in Fallujah.