NEW YORK (CNN) – The leader of ISIS may be soon be a U.S. drone target, but before that happens the president would have to give his approval.
ISIS insurgents taking over Iraqi military barracks, disturbing destruction of tombstones at holy sites by ISIS. But now, could the reclusive and violent ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi soon find himself a target?
His appearance, for the first time at a crowded mosque in northern Iraq raising the question why wasn’t he killed outright.
CNN has learned the pentagon is considering under what circumstances it would recommend to president Obama that al-Baghdadi be targeted for killing by a missile-equipped drone.
“The good thing about going after al-Baghdadi is that it would decapitate ISIS as we know it,” Lt. Col. Rick Francona said.
The U.S. has long had a $10 million reward on al-Baghdadi’s head.
No one will directly say he is on a kill list, but U.S. officials tell CNN that intelligence is being gathered on so-called high value targets in Iraq.
President Obama would have to approve any decision to kill al-Baghdadi. Several conditions would have to be met.
First, that he poses a threat to the U.S. Pentagon officials have said ISIS does threaten the U.S. embassy and Americans in Iraq.
Then, would the intelligence be precise enough to target him without risking civilian casualties? Militants like al-Baghdadi know the U.S. will not strike a mosque and would not risk killing large numbers of civilians.
More difficult to determine: What would killing al-Baghdadi accomplish.
“Killing al-Baghdadi might cause a problem for the leadership of the Islamic state, but it’s not going to stop the movement. People are still going to flock to the caliphate. What might happen if you kill al-Baghdadi you might drive people who were sitting on the fence to do just that.”