... Eight senior figures from Islamic State were killed in an air strike while meeting in a town in western Iraq, but the group's reclusive leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi did not appear to be among them, residents of the town and hospital sources said.
Iraq said on Sunday its air force had hit the meeting and had also struck a convoy that was carrying Baghdadi to attend it. It said Baghdadi had been driven away from the convoy in an unknown condition.
Karabla is a town in Iraq's Anbar province near the Syrian border, an Islamic State stronghold, not to be confused with Kerbala, a Shi'ite holy city in the south.
"The location of the meeting was also bombed and many of the group's leaders were killed and wounded. The fate of murderer al-Baghdadi is unknown and he was carried away by a vehicle. His health condition is still unclear," the military said.
Hospital sources and residents said airstrikes hit two houses and killed eight senior local leaders of an Islamic State police force in the town. [...]The rest of the report revolves around the question of whether Baghdadi survived the airstrikes, and declarations from IS fighters that it doesn't matter whether he's dead or alive; they'll still go on fighting.
The fighters are telling the literal truth although they might not be aware of this. Baghdadi is straight out of Sunni Jihadi central casting. But he plays no part in the planning and execution for IS military operations and never did, as the famous SPIEGEL report on Islamic State clearly indicates.
But Bill Roggio at Long War Journal, in his report on the airstrikes, makes a shrewd observation about the controversy:
... The Islamic State has not officially commented on the reports of Baghdadi’s convoy being targeted in an airstrike, nor has it announced his death.
On numerous occasions in the past, Baghdadi has been rumored to have been killed or seriously wounded. Most recently, in May of 2015, he was said to have been “incapacitated due to suspected spinal damage” incurred in a US airstrike in Baaj near Mosul, The Guardian reported. Baghdadi was purportedly being treated by doctors in Mosul and is said to have turned over control of the group to his deputy, Abu Alaa al Afri.
If the Guardian report is true, and Baghdadi was incapacitated in April, he was no longer in command -- and [if] being treated in Mosul, it is unclear why the Islamic State would move him hundreds of miles south for a meeting with military commanders in Anbar province.Yes that wouldn't make much sense. [chuckling] But then maybe trucking him hundreds of miles was the only way they could assure their conversations with him wouldn't be heard at Russian and American listening posts. Even so, as we can see they weren't able to keep their meeting date and place a secret, surely to the glee of the vast majority of Iraqis.
Yes, soon it's going to be carrier pigeons. This will be a great annoyance to Islamic State in addition to inconvenience. As we recall they consider pigeons un-Islamic because women can look up in the sky and see the birds' private parts.