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ISIS terrorist leader may become drone target

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President Obama would have to decide to target ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Badhadi, officials say.  (Source: CNN) President Obama would have to decide to target ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Badhadi, officials say. (Source: CNN)

(CNN) - The leader of the ISIS terrorist group may be soon be a U.S. drone target. But before that happens President Barack Obama would have to give his approval.

ISIS insurgents take over Iraqi military barracks.

They carry out disturbing destruction of tombstones at holy sites.

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, raised the question why wasn't he killed outright?

The Pentagon is considering under what circumstances it would recommend to Obama that al-Baghdadi be targeted for killing by a missile-equipped drone.

"The good thing about going after Baghdadi is that it would decapitate ISIS as we know it," said retired Lt. Col. Rick Francona.

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 say that intelligence is being gathered on so-called high value targets in Iraq.

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 is what would killing 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 Baghdadi you might drive people who were sitting on the fence to do just that,” Francona said.

Copyright 2014 CNN. All rights reserved.

 

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