Pentagon Doubts Latest Iraqi Claims ISIS Leader ‘Seriously Wounded’

No Evidence Man Wounded in Strike Was Baghdadi

Top Iraqi officials are claiming that ISIS leader Caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was “seriously wounded” in a US airstrike in March, and that he has not been the day-to-day leader of the caliphate since then.

It’s the second major report of Baghdadi being hit by a US strike in recent months, as he was similarly believed to be on death’s door after an early November airstrike, but resurfaced, apparently unharmed, almost immediately.

While Iraqi officials are talking up Baghdadi’s injury, the Pentagon is downplaying the reports, saying they have no evidence that the man wounded in the airstrike in question was actually Baghdadi.

While Iraqi officials wanted to talk up the possibility of Baghdadi not being in charge of ISIS anymore, but intelligence on how much any individual leader is running any particular part of ISIS is unclear.

Even if one of these woundings turns out to be true, ISIS’ strategy doesn’t seem to have changed markedly in either November or March.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of