Iraqi intelligence body known as Falcons Cell said on Monday that the leader of Daesh, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, is in Syria and has strong influence within the organisation.
This came in statements attributed to the Falcons Cell chief Abu Ali Al-Basri in Iraqi newspaper, Assabah.
Al-Basri stated that "following Daesh's military setback in Iraq and Syria, there is a permanent threat to the criminal Ibrahim Al-Samarrai, aka Al-Baghdadi, who is currently based in Syria with his Arab and foreign followers."
He added that Al-Baghdadi had given a high priority in the previous period to addressing the intelligence threats and protecting the organisation from infiltrations.
Al-Basri explained that the leader of Daesh still has a strong influence and is obeyed among his Arab and foreign followers. He noted that Al-Baghdadi made changes to compensate for the terrorists killed during joint operations in Syria, and the liberation of Nineveh, Ramadi, Salahaddin, and other areas.
Al-Basri pointed out that Al-Baghdadi suffered from paralysis in his limbs due to shrapnel wounds in the spine. This injury was sustained during an attack led by the Falcons Cell and the air force, in a south-eastern Hajin area in Deir ez-Zor before its liberation in 2018.
Since the official announcement of Daesh defeat in Iraq, at the end of 2017, the remaining fighters of the organisation have dispersed and resumed guerilla warfare. Thus, Al-Baghdadi has disappeared completely, then reappeared for the first time since 2014, on 29 April, in an 18-minute video, in which he spoke about the battles fought by his followers in Iraq and Syria.