Report ➠ Power Struggle Erupts Inside ISIS As “Caliph” Al-Baghdadi Is Immobilized By Airstrike
Via Daily Beast:
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the Islamic State’s leader, has been moved from Iraq to the Syrian city of Raqqa, the terror army’s de facto capital, amid tight security two months after sustaining serious shrapnel wounds that left his spine damaged and his left leg immobile, say jihadi defectors.
He is said to be mentally alert and able to issue orders, but his physical injuries are now prompting the so-called Islamic State’s governing Shura Council to make a final decision on a temporary stand-in leader who can move back and forth between front lines in Syria and Iraq and is able to handle day-to-day leadership in the self-declared caliphate.
That leader will be, in effect, under al-Baghdadi, a super deputy to the caliph—in Arabic, na’ib al-malik, or viceroy. According to Islamic State defectors debriefed by opposition activists in neighboring Turkey, the election will pit two Iraqis and a Syrian against each other—all well-known figures within the terror army’s top leadership.
These sources say nine doctors were also taken to Raqqa to treat the infirm al-Baghdadi, including a senior physician from Mosul’s general hospital, but the entire al-Baghdadi caravan of attending medics, aides and bodyguards was split into separate convoys to avoid attracting attention from U.S. satellite surveillance and inviting a coalition airstrike or drone attack. At least one doctor didn’t know who his patient was when he arrived in Raqqa and was ordered brusquely to stop asking questions about the man’s identity.
The doctors initially were put in a military barracks in Raqqa’s Al-Mishlab neighborhood close to the city’s industrial district, but were subsequently divided into the three groups and billeted in different houses. By having al-Baghdadi in Raqqa, the Islamic State (widely known as ISIS) will be able to secure drugs, equipment, or additional medical expertise needed from nearby Turkey.
Britain’s Guardian newspaper first reported last month that al-Baghdadi had been injured in a March coalition airstrike, citing a Western diplomat and an adviser to the Iraqi government, and the BBC quoted a spokesman for Iraq’s interior minister as saying the ISIS caliph had been seriously wounded in an airstrike believed to have taken place on March 18. The Iraqi official, though, gave no details about which country carried out the raid, saying only it was coalition warplanes.