The Arabic-language Baghdad al-Youm news website affiliated to the ISIL quoted Fazel Abu Raqif, an Iraqi security expert, as saying that Abdollah Qardash, one of the inmates in Bouka prison near the town of Um al-Qasr in Iraq, which was protected by the US, and the Mufti of al-Qaeda, was adopted as al-Baghdadi’s successor.
He added that Qardash was one of the dangerous commanders close to Baghdadi, noting that he was the first person who joined the ISIL leader after Mosul’s collapse.
His remarks came as reports said late in July that al-Baghdadi was hiding in Syria after he was paralyzed in Iraq’s recent anti-terror operations.
“Al-Baghdadi together with a number of his Arab and foreign aides are presently in Syria as he is feeling too much danger after several ISIL commanders were killed in Iraqi Army’s military operations on ISIL’s hideouts in Western Iraq,” Head of Iraq’s Intelligence Forces Abu Ali al-Basri told the Arabic-language al-Sabah newspaper.
He noted that al-Baghdadi was taken a defensive position under threat by Iraq’s intelligence forces, escaping battle with the Syrian and Iraqi armies.
Al-Basri noted that al-Baghdadi was still very much popular among his foreign, Arab and Iraqi militants, and said that the ISIL ringleader is now replacing some his commanders after he lost a number of his militants and aides in a joint military operation by the Iraqi intelligence forces and the Syrian Army.
He reiterated that al-Baghdadi had been paralyzed after he sustained a spinal cord injury in the Iraqi forces’ attack on a meeting between him and his aides in al-Hojin region before the ISIL left the region in 2018.
In a relevant development in early June, the Iraqi sources reported that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was hiding in the Western deserts of al-Anbar province at the border with Syria.