Iraq air force hits ISIS; al-Baghdadi's fate unknown
The Joint Operations Command, coordinating fights against Jihadists in Iraq, sent a statement which said that a meeting of commanders from the Islamic State group (ISIS) including ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was targeted by the Iraqi air force. However, it remains unclear whether al-Baghdadi was hit. The Iraqi air force struck F-16 jets which killed 13 ISIS commanders.
Military offensive on Islamic State's stronghold
Mosul in northern Iraq has been under Islamic State's (IS) control since June 2014. There is an ongoing military assault on Mosul, an IS stronghold: if the assault led by Iraqis and Kurdish fighters succeeds, IS won't have a strong foothold in Iraq and might be forced to retreat. Therefore, fear, mistrust and paranoia have been soaring amongst Islamic State and its top leaders.
IS Chief: Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi
In the past, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, IS's supreme leader made the news for being assassinated or gravely injured but none of these claims were verified given his rare public appearances. With IS under attack, Baghdadi is allegedly 'trapped' in Mosul. He is believed to have adopted different ways to travel and communicate to protect himself. Some reports even claim he has fled Mosul.
Internal plots against Baghdadi?
Baghdadi has been the target of many internal plots: a lot of IS resources are focused towards his protection. His growing paranoia has led him and his top aides to constantly move hurting Islamic States' chances to defend Mosul.
Baghdadi losing his nerve
Informants in contact with IS reveal that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi "has become intemperate". He reportedly lives underground with tunnels heading in different directions; he also sleeps with his suicide vest so he can detonate if captured. Baghdadi and IS remain lethal but are consumed with paranoia regarding people around: the mass executions by IS clearly indicate that the military offensive is taking its toll.
IS under siege in Mosul; leaders exhibiting paranoia
Iraqi military informants revealed that the military offensive on Mosul, Iraq, an Islamic State stronghold, has unnerved its top leaders. These informants who are in contact with IS but not part of it, claim that with the Iraqi military getting closer, fear and mistrust have soared. IS's paranoia has resulted in mass-executions of civilians; IS has also turned on its own to protect itself.
'Executions' hit the roof
The Islamic State has always been known to be paranoid and given that the Iraqi army is getting closer, levels of fear and mistrust have hit the roof. In the last week alone, more than 60 suspected of 'treason' have been executed by the IS and hung publicly from poles. The IS is targeting people who 'might' back the invading security forces.
'SIM' cards are a death sentence
Islamic State has a vast network to spy on civilians and its members. Recently, a plot against Baghdadi was discovered when a SIM card with names of 50 people with links to US and Kurdish intelligence was found; IS executed them all. Another 42 were executed for merely possessing SIM cards. Now, any form of electronic communication or a SIM is an automatic death-sentence.
The child informers
Since the IS came about, a network of 'child informers' called the 'cubs of the caliphate' has existed. The young children are tasked with eavesdropping on other children and their fathers and brothers. The massive intelligence network leads to such an overflow of information that instead of tackling enemies, IS devotedly scrutinizes its own people leading to more paranoia and mistrust.
Mass grave near Mosul
In early November, a mass grave of 300 bodies was discovered by Iraqi security forces. Many had been beheaded and their hands and ankles were bound. Those buried were believed to be either Iraqi police officers or law enforcement officials.