Multiple Iraqi officials speaking to Fox News said that the ex-terrorist caliphate head is still at large, and is being actively hunted.
Iraqi Interior Ministry intelligence and counterterrorism office director-general Abu Ali al-Basri told the news channel that according to his agency's estimates, al-Baghdadi is hiding in the area of Al-Hajin, eastern Syria, about 29 km from Syria's border with Iraq.
Iraqi Defense Ministry spokesman Brig. Gen. Yahya Rasool confirmed to Fox that al-Baghdadi is thought to be alive, and that he may be located in the border area east of the Euphrates River, possibly in the town of al-Shadaddah in al-Hasakah province in northeast Syria. "It's not difficult for him to hide in the Syrian desert," the officer said.
The Iraqi air force has stepped up its attacks against Daesh* targets in Syria in recent days. Iraqi forces previously targeted Daesh in airstrikes on April 19, killing 36 militants, and coordinating the details of the operation with Syrian, Russian and Iranian forces.
* A terrorist group banned in Russia.