Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State was injured in an airstrike in Iraq Saturday, officials reported. The airstrikes, conducted by U.S. warplanes, targeted a convoy transporting ISIS leaders.
"I can confirm that coalition aircraft did conduct a series of airstrikes yesterday evening in Iraq against what was assessed to be a gathering of ISIL leaders near Mosul, destroying a vehicle convoy consisting of 10 ISIL armed trucks," said Col. Patrick Ryder, referring to ISIS by an alternate name.
Al-Baghdadi has a $10 million bounty on his head. The leader took over a branch of the extremist group Al Qaeda in 2010, transforming it into ISIS. While the extent of al-Baghdadi’s injuries are not known, one of his aides, Abdur Rahman al-Athaee, or Abu Sajar, was killed in the airstrike, the Guardian reported.
A separate airstrike against ISIS killed at least 15 people and injured 31 in the town of al-Qaim Saturday. The town is in the Anbar province, on the border with Syria and is 286 kilometers (178 miles) from Mosul.
The attacks follow President Barack Obama’s orders to deploy 1,500 more American troops to areas in Iraq and Syria to help train Iraqi troops in ground combat. The U.S. troops will not engage in direct combat. However, the U.S. has and will continue to assist with airstrikes.
"The airstrikes have been very effective in degrading ISIL's capabilities and slowing the advance that they were making," Obama said on the CBS news program "Face the Nation" Sunday.
"Now what we need is ground troops, Iraqi ground troops, that can start pushing them back."
In Iraq Sunday, Iraqi military forces reached the northern city of Baiji and clashed with militants, Reuters reported. ISIS tried to block the advance with bombs and snipers along the roads.