The Iraqi armed forces press service announced on Monday the ISIS leader has fled the Iraqi city of Mosul in the course of the operation to liberate the city.
“Intelligence sources confirmed the escape of terrorist [ISIS leader] Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi with 150 families in order to use them as cover from airstrikes,” the press service said.
The report came as it was reported last week that the ISIS leader is hiding in Mosul.
Earlier, local security sources told Sputnik that ISIS Leader al-Baghdadi escaped an airstrike in the Iraqi campaign to liberate the northern city of Mosul minutes ahead of an attack.
Baghdadi’s movements are known only by his inner circle, with the leader constantly changing location in Iraq and Syria to avoid airstrikes.
Earlier, the Iraqi army announced they have cleared more than two thousand ISIS militants in Mosul since the beginning of the operation.
“Initial reports on the ongoing military operations in Mosul indicate that over 2,000 ISIS militants have been liquidated since the start of the operation, including important leadership figures,” Gen. Najm Jubbouri said.
Jubbouri, in charge of Iraqi military operations in the Nineveh province of which Mosul is the capital, said armed forces were less than four miles away from Mosul’s western front.
Back on October 17, the Iraqi prime minister announced a campaign to reclaim the key ISIS stronghold, with mixed forces of Iraqi army, Kurdish forces and Arab tribesmen advancing from south, east and north.