The US is not specifically targeting Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi but its airstrikes are aimed at destroying the command and control of the Islamic State, the Pentagon has said, without confirming reports of the death or wounding of the terror group’s leader.
“We cannot confirm if ISIL leader Baghdadi was among those present. We have no further information to provide regarding those strikes at this point,” State Department Spokesperson, Jen Psaki, told reporters, which was echoed by the Pentagon earlier in the day.
“We do not have any information to corroborate reports out of Iraq that Baghdadi has been either killed or wounded,” Pentagon Spokesperson, Col Steve Warren said.
The US-led strikes destroyed a vehicle convoy of 10 armed trucks late Friday near Mosul, US Central Command said.
Warren said he was not aware if Baghdadi was in the convoy.
The top Pentagon spokesperson said that the US is targeting to destroy the command and control of the ISIL, but not specifically targeting Baghdadi.
But he did concede that Baghdadi is the commander of the ISIL.
“There were coalition aircraft conducting a series of airstrikes November 7 in Iraq against what was assessed to be a gathering of ISIL leaders near Mosul, destroying a vehicle convoy consisting of 10 ISIL armed trucks. We cannot confirm if ISIL leader Baghdadi was among those present.
“We have no further information to provide regarding those strikes at this point,” Psaki told reporters.
“It clearly demonstrates that we’re continuing to keep the pressure on. We’re continuing to target and go after the ISIL terrorist network. But we don’t have any new information at this point,” she said.