Iraq air force hits convoy of ISIS leader Baghdadi: Statement

An aircraft, loaded with bombs to make air strikes against the Islamic state in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), is seen at Kut air base, south-east of Baghdad, Iraq, on Oct 10, 2015.  :
An aircraft, loaded with bombs to make air strikes against the Islamic state in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), is seen at Kut air base, south-east of Baghdad, Iraq, on Oct 10, 2015. : PHOTO: REUTERS

BAGHDAD (REUTERS, AFP) - The Iraqi airforce struck a convoy of Islamic State in Iraq and Syria leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in western Anbar province close to the Syrian border on Sunday, a military statement said.

The fate of the militant leader, who has declared himself the leader of a Caliphate in areas it controls in Iraq and Syria, is still unknown, the statement said.

"Iraqi air forces have bombed the convoy of the terrorist Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi while he was heading to Karabla to attend a meeting with Daesh commanders", the statement read, using the Arabic acronym for ISIS.

Iraqi security sources have previously that Baghdadi had been injured or killed in strikes in the past but the claims were either never verified or later denied.

The statement was released by the "war media cell", a structure which provides updates on the war against ISIS and speaks for the interior and defence ministries as well as the paramilitary Popular Mobilisation forces.

Karabla is located on the Euphrates river barely five kilometres from the border with Syria. The statement did not make clear when the strike was carried out.

It said the operation was conducted in coordination with Iraq's interior ministry intelligence services and the joint operation command centre that includes military advisers from the US-led coalition.