U.S.: Islamic State leader not targeted in Iraq

Robert Burns
Associated Press

Washington — A Pentagon spokesman says a U.S. airstrike on a 10-vehicle convoy in northern Iraq last week was targeting Islamic State “battlefield leaders,” but not senior leaders like Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the group’s most senior leader.

The spokesman, Col. Steve Warren, said Monday that U.S. officials are unable to confirm reports that al-Baghdadi was wounded. An Iraq Interior Ministry intelligence official told The Associated Press on Sunday that an Iraqi airstrike Saturday wounded al-Baghdadi during a meeting in the town of Qaim, near the Syrian border. That would be separate from the U.S. airstrike described by Warren, which happened near Mosul.

Warren said the U.S. is not specifically targeting al-Baghdadi anywhere in Iraq, but it is trying to degrade the group’s ability to command its fighting forces.