The self-styled "caliph" of the brutal terrorist Islamic State (ISIS) Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is suffering from spinal injuries so critical that he may never lead ISIS again.
In fact, he may already have been declared "clinically dead," according to rumors reported by Iran's state FARS news agency, the Jerusalem Post notes
Al-Baghdadi, the so-called "Invisible Sheik," who is said to wear a mask while addressing his followers, was injured in a U.S. bombing raid at al-Baaj west of Mosul on March 18, The Guardian reports
, and is being treated in his hideout near Mosul by two doctors.
His wounding has left members of ISIS, now headed by former physics teacher Abu Alaa al-Afri, thirsting for revenge against Europe.
Al-Baghdadi, The Guardian said, is under the care of a female radiologist from a hospital in Mosul and a male surgeon, both of whom fanatically support ISIS' aims of conquest.
"The women's sons work in the hospital," an unnamed source in Mosul told The Guardian. "They dress like Kandaharis and even carry guns inside. Both are on the regional health board.
"The man is not a renowned surgeon, but he is absolutely with them (ISIS). His daughter married a Salafist and said she was going to have as many children as she could to fight the enemies of Islam."
An ISIS member told The Guardian: "[ISIS members] are planning to fight back against Europe. They want to take revenge for Baghdadi."
Pentagon spokesman Col. Steve Warren, while confirming an air assault, said, "There was nothing to indicate that Baghdadi had been wounded or killed. There's nothing to indicate that there's been a change," the Christian Post reported
The ascendancy of al-Afri to lead the group is disturbing in that he is said to favor rejoining al-Qaida and other Islamic terrorist groups to form a unified front against the West.
"[ISIS members] have a lot of confidence in al-Afri," Hisham al-Hashimi, Iraqi government adviser, told The Guardian. "He is smart and a good leader and administrator. If Baghdadi ends up dying, he will lead them."
The Guardian reports "three sources close to ISIS have confirmed that Baghdadi's wounds could mean he will never again lead the organization."
Al-Baghdadi first assumed leadership over ISIS in 2010 and, in 2013, the former al-Qaida terrorist, who claims to be a direct descendent of the prophet Muhammad and who has a $10 million price on his head for information leading to his death or capture, broke with al-Qaida.
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