France 24: IS group leader al-Baghdadi has fled Mosul, Pentagon official says
Islamic State (IS) group leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has fled the besieged Iraqi city of Mosul and is believed to have delegated tactical control of the battle to local commanders, a US defence official said Wednesday.
The official said the elusive leader, who last appeared in public in Mosul in July 2014 to proclaim a "caliphate", fled the former IS group bastion some time before Iraqi security forces surrounded the city.
"He was in Mosul at some point before the offensive. We know he's been there," the official told reporters. "He left before we isolated Mosul and Tal Afar," a town to the west of the city.
Baghdadi is not believed to be exercising any kind of tactical influence on how the Mosul fight will play out, the official said. "He probably gave broad strategic guidance and has left it to battlefield commanders."
Some in Mosul said the fact that al-Baghdadi has fled is an indication that victory is near for the Iraqi forces fighting in Mosul.
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Battle For The Iraqi City Of Mosul -- News Updates March 9, 2017
ISIS Leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi Fled Mosul, Now Moving Between Iraq and Syria: Officials -- Newsweek
Isil leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has abandoned Mosul fight, US and Iraqi sources say -- The Telegraph
ISIS Leader Baghdadi Fled Mosul but Left Die-Hard Followers Behind: Official -- NBC
Where is Baghdadi? ISIL leader 'flees' amid Iraqi squeeze on Mosul -- Euronews
Iraqi troops retake two Mosul sectors as they press towards city center -- RUDAW
Iraq aims to drive Islamic State from west Mosul within a month -- Reuters
Iraq aims to drive ISIL from west Mosul ‘within a month’ -- The National/Reuters/AFP
Exclusive video: At the Mosul mosque where IS group leader declared a caliphate -- France 24
Iraq unleashes mass destruction, death & displacement on Mosul -- Middle East Monitor
Surviving on the front line in Mosul's street battles -- Al Jazeera
TOWER OF TERROR Iraqi troops ‘liberate’ infamous Mosul tower block where ISIS thugs threw gay men to their deaths – as terror group digs in for bloody battle to re-take the city -- The SUN
Spotters help identify Daesh militants fleeing Mosul -- TRT
Dramatic footage from western Mosul shows families caught in crossfire -- CNN
Civilians flee Mosul as Iraqi forces smash remaining ISIS fighters -- CBS
‘Numbers increasing sharply’: Urgent construction of new Mosul camp as thousands continue to flee -- RT
UN: Up to 450,000 IDPs expected in cramped Mosul camps -- Al Jazeera
Mosul: Iraqi troops find Assyrian treasures in network of Isis tunnels -- The Guardian