The Iraqi Judicial Council said on Thursday that the leader of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, is ill, according to the Iraqi News Agency, with a person close to the leader speaking of multiple conflicts within the group.
The council presented confessions by al-Baghdadi’s cousin, Rabah Ali Ibrahim Ali al-Badri, where he tells stories on his time with the ISIS leader.
“I was close to al-Baghdadi, we grew up together and we parted in the eighties when he moved to study in Baghdad where he got his Ph.D. During that time we used to meet every now and then,” al-Badri said.
“When the caliphate announced its control over some provinces and cities, three of my six children pledged allegiance to the group, because most residents did,” he added.
Speaking to the judge, who is specialized in Iraqi intelligence cases, al-Badri said that he worked in the agriculture while living in ISIS-controlled areas, pointing out the importance of the sector to the so-called caliphate.
When asked about seeing al-Baghdadi after Iraqi forces took over former ISIS strongholds, al-Badri said: “We received many warnings from his brother not to try to meet him. His brother is his security guard and he’s responsible for protecting him from security forces, so I didn’t try to get in touch.”
One day, al-Badri says, al-Baghdadi’s brother came and took him to an undisclosed location. “Al-Baghdadi lived in a small house with an area not more than 150 meters.” He met al-Baghdadi.
“When I told him about the conflicts happening within the state due to his disappearance, he said he knew everything that was happening. He talked about a coup that was organized by Arab and foreign leaders, and he said that it was mostly Tunisians who are driving conflict and claiming there is no caliphate,” al-Badri said, according to the Iraqi News Agency.
The ISIS leader’s cousin said that al-Baghdadi looked “tired and exhausted,” adding that he was suffering from pain due to a surgery he had in his left ear in Syria’s al-Bukamal.
“He wasn’t far from the Syrian city of al-Shaafah. It took us around 10 to 15 minutes to get to his house, which means that he was still in that area,” said al-Badri.