Leader of the Badr Organisation Hadi al-Amiri speaks during an interview with Reuters in Baghdad, January 25, 2016. REUTERS/Ahmed Saad
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Flush with cash and weapons, Daesh (ISIS) is attracting huge numbers of foreign fighters to Iraq and Syria and withstanding U.S.-led airstrikes that are failing to hit the right targets, a powerful Iraqi Shiite paramilitary leader told Reuters in an interview. Hadi al-Amiri also said Daesh leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was alive and in Iraq, despite reports that he had been wounded. Amiri delivered a damning assessment of the airstrikes that the United States and its allies have been conducting against Daesh for almost 18 months.Amiri said Sunni-Shiite tensions galvanized by the war in Iraq and neighboring Syria were swelling the ranks of Daesh.The bombing of a Shiite shrine housing the tombs of two imams in the Iraqi city of Samarra in 2006 was the trigger for the worst sectarian carnage to engulf Iraq in the past decade, and now the Syria conflict has splintered the Middle East along the fault line dividing the two main denominations of Islam. Amiri's Badr fighters fought on Iran's side in the 1980-88 war against Iraq's Sunni dictator, Saddam Hussein.
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