The Iraqi government moved a step closer to snaring the ISIS ringleader after narrowing his location to just four sites.
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, 47, is the world’s most wanted terrorist.
He was seen this week for the first time in a chilling 18 minute video in which he appeared to discuss the slaughter of 253 innocent civilians in the Sri Lanka bombings.
Eight Brits were caught up in the tragedy.
Baghdadi is believed to be hiding out in an isolated area of either Iraq or Syria – once part of the huge swathe of territory ISIS once controlled.
Reports suggest jihadists are now waging regular insurgent-style attacks against security forces in both countries.
Hisham al-Hashemi, a security adviser to the Iraqi government, said officials had narrowed his whereabouts from 17 to four possible locations.
The four locations are in the desert of Iraq’s Anbar province or in the eastern desert of Homs in Syria, he said.
Prime Minister Abdul Mahdi said Islamic State’s capabilities had “greatly reduced” but that the group still posed a threat.
He said: “Regarding the location of Baghdadi, we can’t give intelligence information right now but it’s clear from the video that he’s in a remote area.”
“If they have a lead, it is either via the upload, or what people have been doing in that eight day period”
Dr Paul Stott
According to terrorism expert Dr Paul Stott, from the Henry Jackson Society, the background in the video is unlikely to provide clues to his location, the Sun reports.
Instead, it is likely that an electronic foot print or the behaviour of his followers are more likely to lead to the jihadi’s whereabouts.
He told the Sun Online: “What we most likely have is an eight day window between the Easter Sunday attacks, and the video being uploaded.”
“If they have a lead, it is either via the upload, or what people have been doing in that eight day period.
“If particular groups of people under surveillance by the authorities have been missing in that eight day period, if they were travelling in convoy or behaving differently, that could be a sign of when or where this video was made.”
The US Department of Justice has a huge $25 million bounty on al-Baghdadi’s head.
Reports suggest that the ISIS ringleader was seriously hurt during a 2015 air strike.
Baghdadi is also said to have evaded numerous attempts to take him out.