On October 27, 2019, Muhammad Ali Sajet, a companion and a relative of Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi who is currently detained by the Iraqi intelligence services, was interviewed on Al-Arabiya TV (Saudi Arabia). He said that Al-Baghdadi did not expect that he would be killed, since he took "strict security measures". According to Sajet, Al-Baghdadi wore an explosives belt, that he kept nearby even when he was asleep. Sajet also recounted how Al-Baghdadi used to curse ISIS province governors in front of him, and that Al-Baghdadi thought that there were traitors even among those governors. Sajet showed the gun that was behind Al-Baghdadi in his last appearance, and spoke about Al-Baghdadi's deputy, an Iraqi national named Hajj Abdallah, as a possible successor to Al-Baghdadi. According to Sajet, "even if Al-Baghdadi were not killed, ISIS is finished", and the morale among ISIS members is shattered. According to some media reports, Sajet was the one who revealed Al-Baghdadi's hiding place.
Following are excerpts:
Interviewer: Muhammad, do you know that Al-Baghdadi was killed by the American forces, with support and intelligence provided by the Iraqi forces? Did Al-Baghdadi know that these were his last days, considering the security measures he took in the places where you met him?
Muhammad Ali Sajet: By Allah, we did not expect this to happen, because he took strong security measures. I think that he was well hidden. Yes, we did not expect this to happen and [Al-Baghdadi] did not expect that he would be killed, because of all the security measures.
Interviewer: Did [Al-Baghdadi] wear an explosives belt?
Muhammad Ali Sajet: Yes, he did. They had hand-grenades, American machine guns, as well as bazookas – he was completely ready.
Interviewer: Did you think that if there was a raid when you were with him, he would blow himself up, like he did?
Muhammad Ali Sajet: Yes, he would never have surrendered. Even when he slept, the explosives belt was nearby.
Interviewer: Did the other leaders also wear explosives belts?
Muhammad Ali Sajet: Yes, all except for Abu Baraa.
Interviewer: What about you?
Muhammad Ali Sajet: Of course, I wore one.
[Al-Baghdadi] talked about [ISIS] province governors, who retreated from Fallujah and Salah Al-Din... He was not pleased.
Interviewer: What did he think about the demise of the Islamic State in Syria?
Muhammad Ali Sajet: By Allah, he was shocked by that.
Interviewer: Did he talk about betrayal?
Muhammad Ali Sajet: Yes, he thought that even among [ISIS] province governors there were traitors. [Al-Baghdadi] cursed the [ISIS] province governors in front of me. He took medication for his diabetes, which was caused by the withdrawal from territories.
Interviewer: Was he afraid that the American forces would kill him, like they did Abu Omar?
Muhammad Ali Sajet: By Allah, he was very careful. Of course he was afraid. He was very worried about planes and made strict security and hiding arrangements.
Interviewer: So there's a man called Hajj Abdallah who was Al-Baghdadi's deputy the last time you met him... Perhaps he is a potential successor of Al-Baghdadi?
Muhammad Ali Sajet: I think so.
Interviewer: Is he an Iraqi national?
Muhammad Ali Sajet: Yes, he is Iraqi.
Interviewer: Could you describe Al-Baghdadi's last appearance?
Muhammad Ali Sajet: I can demonstrate it to you. This is the gun he had behind him in his last appearance. These books were also in the place where I met him, near the Syrian-Iraqi border.
Interviewer: Some people said that he was wounded. Was he wounded and received treatment?
Muhammad Ali Sajet: Yes, he was wounded and received treatment, but his condition was good.
Interviewer: Were there doctors who accompanied Al-Baghdadi?
Muhammad Ali Sajet: There were no doctors but he received treatment. He was treated for his wounds, for his diabetes, his blood pressure... He had a device to check his sugar level.
Interviewer: Today, Al-Baghdadi was killed. What do you think the future holds for ISIS, after its defeats in Iraq and in Syria? Do you think ISIS can continue to exist? What do you think?
Muhammad Ali Sajet: I think that even if Al-Baghdadi were not killed, ISIS is finished. It's over. ISIS does not exist anymore. After Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi was killed, it is over. The morale is shattered. People are broken. Even if someone takes over, the organization is over.