ISIS

Report: ISIS leader survived coup attempt by foreign fighters

February 8, 2019
AP Photo/Militant video, File

Intelligence officials believe that a coup attempt was made last month against Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, but he survived, and now there's a bounty on the head of the senior foreign fighter thought to have been behind the plot, The Guardian reports.

ISIS only has control over a tiny portion of land near the city of Hajin in eastern Syria, and there are an estimated 500 ISIS militants left in the area. Intelligence officers believe that on Jan. 10, a group of foreign fighters tried to make a move against al-Baghdadi, which led to a shootout with his bodyguards, The Guardian reports. They were able to flee with al-Baghdadi, and ISIS is now offering a reward to anyone who kills Abu Muath al-Jazairi, a veteran foreign fighter.

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An intelligence officer told The Guardian that al-Baghdadi "got wind of it just in time. There was a clash and two people were killed. This was the foreign fighter element, some of his most trusted people." It's unclear where al-Baghdadi is now; he's not in good health, and is still dealing with injuries sustained during an airstrike nearly five years ago. The small area of land where ISIS militants are holed up is surrounded by Kurdish forces and Shia militias, and in recent weeks, many fighters and their families have surrendered. Catherine Garcia

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