Islamic State chief Baghdadi poisoned during feast, say reports

An image grab taken from a propaganda video released on July 5, 2014 allegedly shows the leader of the Islamic State jihadist group, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, addressing Muslim worshippers at a mosque in the militant-held northern Iraqi city of Mosul. (AFP Photo)

Islamic State chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and three of his top aides were seriously ill after being poisoned during a feast, media reports said on Monday.

They have been shifted to an unknown location under strict measures, the reports said.

The lunch prepared for Baghdadi and three other IS leaders were allegedly poisoned in Nineveh’s Be’aaj district in Iraq, several Arabic-language and Iranian news sites reported.

Citing a source, Iraqi news agency WAA said the four are suffering from “severe poisoning” and “have been transferred to an unknown location under strict measures”.

After the incident, IS militants were conducting arrests in order to determine who was behind it.

News of Baghdadi being poisoned came as Iraqi media claimed some top IS commanders were among 16 militants killed when one of the leaders’ explosive belt exploded during a meeting.

“A number of the ISIS (another acronym for IS) members were wearing explosive belts during the meeting, and the explosion took place due to a defect in one of them,” Al-Sumaria Iraqi media outlet said.

Baghdadi, who has reportedly been wounded multiple times, carries a $10 million bounty on his head.

Baghdadi is credited with transforming a breakaway al Qaeda faction into the dreaded IS group, which has seized large swathes of land in Iraq and Syria.

Baghdadi’s movements are known only by his inner circle, and the Caliph, as he is known to his followers, is constantly on the move, changing locations in Iraq and Syria to avoid airstrikes.

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