Islamic State can draw on veteran jihadists, ex-Iraq army officers for leadership

Still image taken from video of a man purported to be the reclusive leader of the militant Islamic State Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi making what would be his first public appearance at a mosque in MosulBy Michael Georgy and Mariam Karouny CAIRO/BEIRUT (Reuters) – Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, one of the world’s most wanted men, is counting on veteran jihadis and former Iraqi army officers who form the core of the militant movement to take over if he is killed. New questions arose over Islamic State’s leadership structure and who might succeed Baghdadi after Iraq’s military said on Sunday air strikes had hit a convoy carrying him, though Iraqi security officials later denied this. Baghdadi, who rarely appears in public and delivers few audio speeches, makes the vast majority of decisions, including which of the group’s enemies should be killed.

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