US Special Forces are searching for the chief of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq, a senior Iraqi military official revealed to The New Arab.
The team tasked with locating IS leader Abubakr al-Baghdadi is the same previously assigned to locate and eliminate former Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, northeastern Pakistan, the Iraqi security expert, Ahmad al-Hamdani, said.
The US team, accompanied by an armed unit of the Syrian Democratic Forces, an Arab-Kurdish alliance of fighters battling insurgents in the region, is settling the IS leader within an area of 10km in the Deir az-Zour province, the source said.
“The information we have is that the US military wants al-Baghdadi alive, which may explain the entry of US special forces into Syrian areas that can be considered military zones, as well as the delay in resolving the entry of Kurdish militias to the remaining villages and small Syrian towns,” al-Hamdani said.
Commenting on Washington’s eagerness to arrest al-Baghdadi alive, the official said, “It may have something to do with the current situation of US President Donald Trump and his need for a positive event in his favour in the US,” he suggested, noting it may also be linked to the need to question and interrogate the militant leader.