A number of senior leaders of the Islamic State, including its chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, have been killed in an air strike, the Iraq Air Force said in a statement.
A military statement had earlier claimed the strike had taken place in the Iraqi province of Anbar but admitted it was unclear if al-Baghdadi had been killed.
However, local residents and several hospital sources said that the Islamic State leader was not among the casualties from the convoy air strike.
“The Iraqi Air Force carried out a heroic operation by striking al-Baghdadi’s convoy while he on his way to attend a meeting with senior IS leaders in Karabelah,” the statement said.
The site of the meeting was also struck and several IS leaders were killed and wounded, the statement said.
The Pentagon says it can’t confirm the report at this time.
This is not the first time that reports have emerged of al-Baghdadi being shot. In November, Iraqi officials said he had been wounded in an airstrike. In March, Iraq’s Interior Ministry said the Iraqi Air Force wounded al-Baghdadi in an airstrike on the Iraqi town of Al-Qaem.
He is enemy no 1 in the fight against IS, and this summer, US intelligence officials said they believed al-Baghdadi was in the area of Raqqa, Syria, the de facto capital of the self-declared Islamic State. He was also still in charge of operations, they said.