Abu bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of Islamic State [Isis], is suspected to be back in Mosul in northern Iraq, after he reportedly fled to Syria a couple of months ago owing to the US airstrikes.

The Islamist leader, along with dozens of heavily-armed uniformed soldiers, are believed to be back in the IS-stronghold city, which was first captured by the militant group leading to the establishment of an Islamic Caliphate.

According to a senior security source cited by local Iraqi News, al-Baghdadi was escorted by nearly 200 fighters to Mosul.

The source said the Iraqi defence ministry has received the information from several sources and has corroborated it.

A senior ministry official at the Iraqi forces said: "al-Baghdad i — who was limited to move inside Iraq, between Anbar and cities of Shirqat areas and Hamrin Mountains — arrived in the city of Mosul from Syria, taking advantage of low visibility in the border area due to rain and fog."

The army official went on to say: "The arrival of al-Baghdadi yesterday was preceded by a complete cut of mobile and internet communications networks throughout the day, while the militants of ISIS were deployed all around the city. They wore a uniform and launched a campaign to clean up the main streets."

The militants are expected to intensify their fighting against security forces following al-Baghdadi's return to Mosul.