Islamic State (IS) leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and his three top aides have fallen seriously ill after consuming poisoned food during a feast, reports have said. They have been shifted to some secret location, media reports added.
According to the Press Trust of India, the lunchtime meals prepared for Baghdadi were allegedly poisoned in Iraq's Nineveh's Be'aaj district. Iraqi news agency WAA also reported that Baghdadi and the trio of commanders are suffering from "severe poisoning" and "have been transferred to an unknown location under strict measures".
IS has immediately sprung into action and is trying to track down the culprits behind the incident. Militants are conducting several arrests to identify the moles.
Baghdadi, who was declared a terrorist by the United States in 2011, had been severely wounded on multiple occasions and carries a US$10 million bounty on his head.
However, it is not yet determined who conducted this attack or what substance was used to poison the food. IS has also not revealed the names of the three commanders who were poisoned along with their chief.
Baghdadi previously escaped a near-death situation when he was grievously injured in an airstrike carried out by the US in March 2016.
The news of poisoning came a few days after Iraqi media reported some top IS commanders were among 16 militants killed when one of their leaders' explosive belt went off during a meeting.
"A number of the ISIS (another acronym for IS) members were wearing explosive belts during the meeting, and the explosion took place due to a defect in one of them," Al-Sumaria Iraqi media outlet said, according to the Hindustan Times.
Baghdadi transformed a mere al-Qaeda faction into the dreaded IS group that seized vast stretches of land in Iraq and Syria.
The US has been trying to track down Baghdadi, but he is constantly changing his hideout to escape from airstrikes in Iraq and Syria.