Iraqi aircraft hit Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's convoy Saturday around noon, Iraqi officials said, although they are unable to confirm the jihadi leader's fate.
An Iraqi security statement said Baghdadi's convoy was "moving towards Karbala to attend a meeting of the Daesh [a perjorative term for Islamic State] terrorist leaders" when he was struck, an Iraqi security statement said, according to reports. The statement said the jihadi leader was "transported in a vehicle" but "his health status was unknown." Several other Islamic State leaders and militants were killed or wounded in the raid, the statement said.
Karbala is on the Euphrates about three miles from the Syrian border in western Anbar province.
A U.S. military official confirmed that they have seen the reports but said they have no information "that confirms" them.
This would not be the first time that Baghdadi's death has been hailed. In November 2014 he was reported dead from a strike in the same region. There has been constant speculation on his whereabouts and he has a $10 million bounty on his head, but little is known about the terrorist leader.
A U.S.-led coalition to oust the Islamic State caliphate has had mixed success, and over 7,000 airstrikes later, the jihadis still control a vast swath of Iraq and Syria. The U.S. accuses Russia's recently begun air campaign against the Islamic State of boosting Syrian President Bashar Assad.
Assad's forces gained ground Sunday in central Hama province around a key highway and in the northern regime stronghold of Latakia province. The Syrian advances comes after the Islamic State's own in northwestern Syria on Friday. The jihadist group killed the top general of Iran's elite Islamic Revolutionary Guards, Hossein Hamedani.