Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is reportedly close to death after having been poisoned by a mystery assassin in Iraq, said multiple reports Monday and Tuesday.The poisoning reportedly occurred in the town of al-Ba’aj, which is southwest of ISIS’ stronghold of Mosul. In addition to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, three other senior ISIS leaders were also poisoned. All four have been rushed to a treatment facility at a secret location.FARS, an Iranian news agency, says that ISIS is arresting suspects in order to find out who struck a blow at the “Caliph,” the leader of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.The four jihadis were poisoned at lunchtime.Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi is known for his brutality as the leader of the world’s worst terror organization. He is particularly famous for the rape and torture of US aid worker Kayla Mueller. He forced the 26-year old to marry him after she was kidnapped in Syria while on a Doctors Without Borders convoy with her boyfriend.Kayla Mueller was killed during a Jordanian airstrike last year.
Baghdadi Poisoned on Eve of Mosul Offensive
Baghdadi was once held by US forces in Fallujah during the 2004 invasion of the city. He was released and later went on to become the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq before it became known as ISIS.There were rumors that Baghdadi was killed near ISIS’ de facto capital of Raqqa in Syria, but they turned out to be untrue.The news comes as Iraqi forces, backed by US advisors and aircraft, prepare to take back the stronghold of Mosul. Mosul is the second-most populous city in Iraq and has been held by ISIS for over two years. The city of 1.2 million was overrun in June of 2014. Iraq's "golden division" special operations forces will likely lead the assault.A radio station used to broadcast jihadi propaganda in the city of Mosul was also destroyed on Monday.