Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the self-proclaimed caliph of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, has been wounded in Al-Qa’im by an Iraqi airstrike along the border with Syria, Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi told the pan-Arab Al-Hayat newspaper on Tuesday.
“His survival was a miracle,” said Abadi, adding that Baghdadi has since “moved to another location.”
The ISIS leader is “sometimes present in Mosul, but most of the time he’s in Syria, not Iraq,” the prime minster said.
The threat posed by ISIS has led to some countries, particularly in the West, muting their demands to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Abadi said.
While ISIS is no longer a threat to Baghdad, a regular army will not be able to confront it if it manages to recruit thousands of youths, he said.
ISIS has turned its sights on Kurdistan after realizing that it could not reach southern Iraq, the prime minister added.
Relations with Turkey are strained because Ankara considers the Kurdistan Workers’ Party as much a threat as ISIS, if not more, Abadi said.
Relations with the Kurdistan region “are good, and there’s coordination on the security, military and economic levels. There’s also a relation of mutual trust,” he said.
“However, I’m very frank with the brother Kurds. I’ve told them that if they continue to adopt that previous approach… of taking what they can from Iraqi lands until they achieve separation, then they must be clear. And if they’re willing to stay in Iraq, we’re willing to share bread.”
On Izzat al-Douri’s whereabouts, Abadi said he did not think the former assistant of late President Saddam Hussein was present in Iraq.
“If he had been in Iraq, he would’ve been caught a long time ago. I think he’s in another country,” the prime minister said.
Abadi added that he expects more Iraqi-Saudi contacts since a location for the Saudi embassy has been chosen in Baghdad.
He described his meeting with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal as “very positive.”
By Al Arabiya
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