Osama bin Laden was warned in 2011 about the rise of the Islamic extremists who are now trying to establish a caliphate in Iraq, according to a report.
A 21-page letter from a top adviser cautioning about the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) was found at the compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, where U.S. Navy SEALs killed bin Laden in May 2011, said a report published Sunday by the Daily Mail.
One of bin Laden’s senior officials wrote the letter warning ISIS was too extreme even for al Qaeda and advised that it should break its ties with the group, the report said.
The report neither identified the adviser nor provided any direct quotes from the letter.
The adviser described ISIS’s techniques as barbaric, including its bombing of mosques, its use of chlorine gas as a weapon and a massacre in a Catholic church in Baghdad.
While it’s unclear when al Qaeda began to distance itself from ISIS, al Qaeda’s central command declared earlier this year that it has no links with the group.
Al Qaeda’s statement said ISIS is “not a branch of al Qaeda” and has “no organizational relationship” with al Qaeda, the Los Angeles Times reported in February.
The Daily Mail’s report comes as the Obama administration expands its strategy in Iraq to weaken ISIS, embolden Kurdish forces and urge regime change.
President Obama announced last week that he had authorized U.S. airstrikes to protect U.S. personnel in Iraq and humanitarian assistance to save the Yazidi minority that became stranded on a mountain after fleeing ISIS.