ISIS chief ‘incapacitated,’ may never lead again: report
A long-term senior ISIS official and former physics teacher Abu Alaa al-Afr has been appointed the deputy leader
Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdad has remained incapacitated with suspected spinal damage after a U.S. air strike in northern Iraq over two months ago, and may never resume control of the group, UK paper The Guardian reported on Friday.
Due to the crippling injuries of the ISIS chief - who is the self-appointed caliph of a sprawling territory that stretches over the borders of Iraq and Syria – he is currently receiving treatment by two doctors who travel to his hideout in the group’s Iraqi stronghold of Mosul.
“Baghdadi’s wounds could mean he will never again lead the organization,” according to the Guardian report, citing three unnamed sources it said were close to ISIS.
In Baghdadi’s absence, a long-term senior ISIS official and former physics teacher Abu Alaa al-Afr has been appointed the deputy leader.
Hisham al-Hashimi, an Iraqi government advisor, told U.S.-based magazine Newsweek, that Afri with the help of other senior officials, Afri “has begun to head up Daesh [a pejorative Arabic term for ISIS}… he will be the leader of Daesh if Baghdadi dies.”
Afri is a strong, capable replacement for Baghdadi, and is thought to be more open to reconciliation with al-Nusra Front, Al Qaeda’s Syrian branch, according to Hashimi. “He is a good public speaker and strong charisma… all the leaders of Daesh find that he has much jihadi wisdom, and good capability at leadership and administration.”
Baghdadi’s whereabouts - and the extent of his injuries - remain a closely guarded secret. His only public appearance as chief of the organization was at a mosque in Mosul in July, soon after ISIS fighters swept through the city, Iraq’s second largest, as the army appeared to melt away.
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