Iraqi intelligence paved way for Baghdadi raid: intelligence official

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq’s intelligence service provided the U.S.-led coalition with the exact coordinates of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s location, paving the way for the raid that reportedly killed him, an Iraqi intelligence official told Reuters on Sunday.

The agency learned of Baghdadi’s location from documents found at a secret location in Iraq’s western desert after arresting an Iraqi man and woman from within his “inner circle”, the official said.

“We have been constantly coordinating with the CIA, providing valuable information that the Iraqi National Intelligence Service has on Baghdadi’s movements and place of hiding,” the official said.

“This cooperation was successful and achieved the ultimate goal of killing Baghdadi.”

Baghdadi is believed to have been killed in a U.S. military operation in Syria, sources in Syria, Iraq and Iran said on Sunday ahead of a “major statement” due from U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House.

A U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters that Baghdadi was targeted in the overnight raid but was unable to say whether the operation was successful.

A commander of a militant faction in Idlib province bordering Turkey said Baghdadi was believed to have been killed in a raid in the early hours of Sunday involving helicopters, warplanes and ground clashes in the village of Barisha.

Reporting by Ahmed Rasheed; writing by Ahmed Aboulenein; editing by Alison Williams and Jason Neely