Iraqi air force strikes convoy of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi

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The Iraqi military claims to have carried out an airstrike that struck the convoy of Islamic State (ISIS) leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as he traveled in the western province of Anbar, killing a number of ISIS leaders, though al-Baghdadi himself was not believed to have been killed.

A military statement said air force aircraft bombed the convoy of al-Baghdadi while he was heading to Al-Karābilah, where he was allegedly due to attend a meeting with Islamic State leaders. The interior ministry said a number of people had been killed and injured in the airstrikes, but it noted that al-Baghdadi’s fate is unknown.

Hospital sources and residents told the Reuters news agency that al-Baghdadi was not among the dead, but said that other Islamic State leaders were. Other details about who had been killed were not immediately known.

It remains unclear whether al-Baghdadi was actually in the convoy that was targeted.

Supporters, however, took to social media to emphasize that “even if” their leader had been killed, his self-proclaimed caliphate will survive. “Does the entire world not know that even if, hypothetically, our Sheikh al-Baghdadi, God save and protect him from all evils and dangers, was martyred, do you think the State of the Caliphate would end? Do you think we would leave?” one supporter said, as quoted by Reuters.

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