Iraqi officials speaking to Fox News on Sunday said that ISIS chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is still at large, and is being actively hunted.
“The last information we have is he is in Al-Hajin in Syria, 18 miles from the border in Deir ez-Zor province,” Abu Ali al-Basri, director-general of the intelligence and counter-terrorism office at the Iraqi Ministry of Interior, told Fox News.
According to Basri, reports of Baghdadi’s whereabouts are new, and being used to carry out a “multi-force raid” involving Russian, Syrian and Iranian forces.
Iraqi Defense Ministry spokesman Brig. Gen. Yahya Rasool confirmed to Fox that Baghdadi is thought to be alive, and that he may be located in the border area east of the Euphrates River, possibly in the town of al-Shadaddah in al-Hasakah province in northeast Syria.
“It’s not difficult for him to hide in the Syrian desert,” the officer said.
The Iraqi air force has stepped up its attacks against ISIS targets in Syria in recent days.