A coalition airstrike in western Iraq overnight reportedly killed 17 Islamic State militants in an area where the extremist group’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, had been several hours before.
The strikes occurred in Al-Qaim, a town along the Euphrates River that lies about 200 miles northwest of Iraq’s capital, Baghdad.
Arabic TV channel al-Arabiya al-Hadath, citing anonymous sources, said al-Baghdadi had been in the area hours before the airstrikes. But the report could not be confirmed and no further information was given about his fate or whereabouts.
A hospital source told Reuters that 17 Islamic State militants were killed and 29 were wounded in the airstrikes. Nine civilians also were killed, and some of the wounded were taken across the border into Syria for treatment, the source added.
The militants were on their way to reinforce ISIS fighters on the frontlines in Iraq, and were hit while resting at a guesthouse, the source told Reuters.
Their host, Thamir Mohammed al-Askari, reportedly was among the dead.
Elsewhere, coalition planes bombed the al-Rutba district of Western Iraq , killing six ISIS militants and 11 civilians, a source at a hospital there told Reuters.