Iraqi Army, which entered the ISIS’ stronghold of Mosul for the first time in more than two years, has trapped its chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Fuad Hussein, chief of staff to Kurdish President said Iraqi government had information from multiple sources that “Baghdadi is there and, if he is killed, it will mean the collapse of the whole [IS] system.”
Baghdadi has kept himself concealed for the last eight or nine months according to Hussein. The self-proclaimed caliph had become very dependent on IS commanders from Mosul and Tal Afar.
Experts have speculated that the presence of Baghdadi in Mosul may complicate and prolong the battle for Mosul as his surviving adherents fight to the death to defend him.
Baghdadi is seen as an iconic leader by the IS’s militants. If he is killed, IS would have to choose a new caliph in the middle of a battle, but no successor would have the authority and prestige of Baghdadi.
On Tuesday Iraqi Special Forces advanced into Mosul, which once had a population of two million, seizing the state television on the east bank of the Tigris River that divides the city in half.