Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. Military Space News .

Subscribe to our free daily newsletters

Baghdadi 'The Ghost': world jihad's low-profile boss
by Staff Writers
Beirut (AFP) July 11, 2017

Mosul's once-thriving Old City now a grey wasteland
Mosul, Iraq (AFP) July 11, 2017 - Once the beating heart of Iraq's second-largest metropolis, the Old City of Mosul is now a broken wreck, its winding streets piled high with rubble and hardly a building spared from destruction.

After months of gruelling battles to retake Mosul from the Islamic State group, the Old City has become a bleak landscape of gutted buildings, crumbling concrete and pockmarked mosque domes.

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared Mosul finally retaken on Monday, as his forces fought to recapture a last sliver of territory still held by the jihadists in the Old City on the west bank of the Tigris River.

But the cost of that victory has reduced a once-thriving urban hub to a grey wasteland.

Residential low-rises that once housed families and shops have been flattened or blasted into empty shells.

Burned-out cars sat on top of each other in craters, as armoured cars, mechanical diggers and ambulances jostled for space on the narrow streets.

The bodies of dead jihadists lay on the road, covered by blankets.

In some buildings, remnants of life remained, once-private domestic scenes exposed when walls were torn away.

A room seems to float above the ruins, a clock hanging from the wall and an indoor plant sitting in a corner. Iron cooking pots and electric kettles sat amid the rubble.

- 'The battle is over' -

On Monday, fighters with Iraq's elite Counter-Terrorism Service were battling to dislodge the last jihadist holdouts from a handful of buildings in the Old City.

Clouds of smoke rose above the city as air strikes hit down, the crackle of gunfire echoing through the streets.

"In reality, the battle is already over," Colonel Salam Jassem Hussein told AFP. "There are only a few groups of terrorists left."

Draining cans of Red Bull, Hussein oversaw the fighting with his arm in a sling after he was wounded in combat. On his neck a bandage used to hide another wound kept coming unstuck in the stifling heat.

Fighters climbed abandoned buildings at his command, taking up positions with sniper rifles and machineguns.

In the courtyard of the ancient Nuri mosque, the venerable building blown up by IS as Iraqi forces advanced, the air filled with an appetising smell as volunteers prepared skewers of meat for Iraqi forces.

They worked just a few steps from where Mosul's iconic leaning minaret -- also destroyed by IS -- once rose over the Old City and a few ancient columns still stood, decorated in calligraphy citing verses of the Koran.

Discreet in his youth and invisible as the world's most wanted man, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was reported dead on Tuesday as his cross-border "caliphate" falls apart.

The reclusive jihadist chief's death was confirmed by "top tier commanders" from his Islamic State group, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

The 46-year-old Iraqi, nicknamed "The Ghost", has not appeared in public since he delivered a sermon at Mosul's famed Nuri mosque in 2014, declaring himself "caliph".

His attempt to build a jihadist state has since faced major setbacks.

Iraq has declared victory over the jihadists in Mosul. That defeat followed the loss of swathes of territory in Iraq and in Syria, where US-backed forces are pressing an assault on the jihadists' stronghold Raqa.

Baghdadi has been rumoured wounded or killed several times in the past. While he was said to have left Mosul earlier this year, his whereabouts were never confirmed.

- Introvert -

Keeping a low profile -- in contrast to slain Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden -- helped Baghdadi to survive for years despite a $25-million US bounty on his head.

Ibrahim Awad al-Badri came from modest beginnings to became the overlord of a jihadist state ruling millions of inhabitants.

He was born in Samarra, north of Baghdad.

His high school results were not good enough for law school and his poor eyesight prevented him from joining the army.

So he moved to Baghdad to study Islam, settling in the neighbourhood of Tobchi.

After US-led forces invaded Iraq in 2003, he founded his own insurgent outfit.

It never carried out major attacks, however, and by the time he was arrested in February 2004 and detained at the US military's Camp Bucca, he was still very much a second or third-tier jihadist.

- Strategist -

The prison in southern Iraq, later dubbed "the University of Jihad", was where he started showing signs of leadership.

He was released at the end of 2004 for lack of evidence. Iraqi security services arrested him twice subsequently, in 2007 and 2012, but let him go because they did not know who he was.

In 2005, he pledged allegiance to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the brutal leader of the local Al-Qaeda franchise.

Zarqawi was killed by an American drone strike in 2006. After his successor was also eliminated, Baghdadi took the helm of the group in 2010.

He revived the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI), later declaring it independent of Al-Qaeda, expanding into Syria in 2013 then launching a sweeping offensive across northern Iraq in 2014.

- 'Rapist' -

Baghdadi had grown up in a family divided between a religious clan and officers loyal to Saddam Hussein's secular Baath party.

Years later, his jihadist organisation was to incorporate ex-Baathists, capitalising on the bitterness many officers felt after the American decision to dissolve the Iraqi army in 2003.

That gave his leadership the military legitimacy he personally lacked and formed a solid backbone of what was to become IS, combining extreme religious propaganda with ferocious guerrilla efficiency.

Uncharismatic and an average orator, Baghdadi was described by his repudiated ex-wife Saja al-Dulaimi, who now lives in Lebanon, as a "normal family man" who was good with children.

He is thought to have had three wives, Asma al-Kubaysi, Isra al-Qaysi -- from Iraq and Syria -- and another, more recently, from the Gulf.

He has been accused of repeatedly raping girls and women he kept as sex slaves, including a pre-teen Yazidi girl and the US aid worker Kayla Mueller, who was subsequently killed.

IS chief reported dead after jihadists lose Mosul
Beirut (AFP) July 11, 2017
Islamic State group chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was reported dead on Tuesday, a day after Iraq declared it had driven the jihadists from their one-time top stronghold of Mosul. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a longtime conflict monitor, said it had heard from senior IS leaders that Baghdadi was dead. If confirmed, his death would mark another devastating blow to the jihadist gro ... read more

Related Links
The Long War - Doctrine and Application

Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once

credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly

paypal only

Comment using your Disqus, Facebook, Google or Twitter login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

US deploys Patriots in Lithuania for NATO war games

San Diego 'likely' in range of N.Korea ICBM in 2 years: US monitor

US conducts successful missile intercept test amid NKorea tensions

Lockheed Martin receives contract for Australian AEGIS systems

Anglo-French missile completes first test firing

Poland in talks with Lockheed for inidigenous HIMARS rocket system

Netherlands seeks missile warning system for its helicopters

Lockheed awarded $471 million contract for MLRS rocket production

Explotrain develops drone-simulated IED training system

New Reaper drone variant performs first combat mission

Smart Quadcopters Find their Way without Human Help or GPS

Rafael unveils Drone Dome anti-drone system

Northrop Grumman receives Australian satellite ground station contract

DISA extends Comtech satellite services to Marines

Harris Corp. awarded Special Forces radio contract

Airbus provides German troops with support communications at 15 sites worldwide

Belgium to acquire troop transport vehicles

OSI acquires Morpho explosive trace detection business

Mosul victory marks win for Pentagon training plan

Bahrain signs contract with Lockheed for sniper targeting pods

DSCA approves Super Hornet upgrades, tank ammunition for Australia

Kelvin Hughes to be sold to Hensoldt

Defense spending by European NATO countries to rise in 2017

House Appropriations defense subcommittee bill could mean more ships, planes

U.S. Navy ships to participate in Black Sea exercises

NATO vows support for Ukraine against Russia's 'aggressive actions'

US warplanes fly over disputed South China Sea

China ships troops to its first overseas base in Africa

Nanostructures taste the rainbow

Chemists perform surgery on nanoparticles

Silver atom nanoclusters could become efficient biosensors

Superconducting nanowire memory cell, miniaturized technology

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement