ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The elusive leader of the Islamic State (IS) narrowly missed death after Iran's recent cross-border missile attack into Syria, according to an Iraqi militia commander who spoke to the press.
Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) announced on Monday that it had launched ballistic missiles into eastern Syria, targeting militants it blames for the attack on a military parade nine days earlier in the Iranian city of Ahvaz.
The attack "targeted an important meeting for the so-called Islamic State's war council, to which Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was on way," Hashd al-Shaabi (PMF) commander Jabbar al-Ma'mouri claimed when speaking with Baghdad Today on Thursday. He did not go into detail about how he learned such specifics of the event's outcome.
Baghdadi "was about to get killed in the shelling but he survived as he was a few minutes late for the meeting," Ma'mouri continued.
It should be noted that Iranian media organizations close to the IRGC reported extensively on the details of the attack, quoting its commanders, who have not stated that their operation was targeting Baghdadi. Iranian media outlets only reported that claim when quoting the British Daily Mail.
Following the Sept. 22 attack on the parade which resulted in the death of at least 25, nearly half of whom were in the IRGC, Tehran immediately blamed "Takfiri" elements for the attack.
Takfiri is an Arabic word used by Iranian officials to refer to Sunni jihadists.
Not long after, a group called the Ahvaz National Resistance said they were behind the shooting. However, in an online statement, IS also claimed responsibility for the assault and later released a video showing several men talking about the attack, identifying them as their operatives.
Neither group has provided conclusive evidence.
Out of the six missiles purportedly launched from Iran's Kurdish-majority province of Kermanshah, two fell far short of their intended target and never left the province.
The head of IRGC's aerospace force, General Amirali Hajizadeh, said that they had used intelligence gathered by the military's Quds Force, a division responsible for Tehran's extraterritorial operations. Hajizadeh also claimed that the attack had killed forty IS members.
Editing by John J. Catherine