London: Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State (ISIS), has been incapacitated due to suspected spinal damage and he may never again lead the dreaded radical group, a media report said today.
The world's most wanted terrorist, in his mid-40's, is being treated by two doctors who travel to his hideout from the group's stronghold of Mosul, the Guardian reported.
"More than two months after being injured in a US air strike in north-western Iraq, the self-proclaimed caliph is yet to resume command of the terror group that has been rampaging through Iraq and Syria since June last year.
"Three sources close to ISIS have confirmed that Baghdadi's wounds could mean he will never again lead the organisation," the British newspaper said.
ISIS is now being led by a long-term senior official, Abu Alaa al-Afri, who had been appointed deputy leader when his predecessor was killed by an air strike late last year, it said.
Afri is a professor of physics and a long-term member of ISIS. He was touted as successor to the group's previous leader, Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, who was killed in a US-led raid near Tikrit in April 2010.
Details of Baghdadi's condition, and of the physicians treating him, have emerged since the paper reported that he had been seriously wounded on March 18 in an air strike in al-Baaj, 128 km west of Mosul.
The Pentagon subsequently denied that Baghdadi had been killed and, while it acknowledged that it had carried out the attack, claimed to be unaware that Baghdadi had been among the casualties.