International coalition can't confirm death of ISIS leader

Head of international coalition fighting ISIS says he can't confirm or deny claims that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is dead.

Elad Benari,

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi
Reuters

The head of the international coalition fighting the Islamic State (ISIS) group said Tuesday he had no information that would confirm or deny claims that the group’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, is dead, AFP reported.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights claimed it had "confirmed information" that al-Baghdadi has been killed, citing high-level ISIS commanders.

"(We have) confirmed information from leaders, including one of the first rank, in the Islamic State in the eastern countryside of Deir al-Zor," the director of the British-based war monitoring group Rami Abdulrahman told Reuters.

In response, U.S. Lieutenant General Stephen Townsend said he had heard "all kinds of reporting" about Baghdadi's status.

But, he stressed, "I don't have a clue."

"Hope he's deader than a doornail. And if he's not, as soon as we find out where he is he will be,” added Townsend.

This is not the first time that al-Baghdadi has been reported to be injured or dead. So far, none of the reports have been confirmed.

The Russian Defense Ministry said recently that al-Baghdadi might have been among a group of ISIS members who were killed in a Russian air strike on May 28 south of Raqqa, ISIS's de facto capital in Syria.

The Pentagon later said there was no evidence to prove that, but Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister insisted that it is "highly likely" that al-Baghdadi was killed in Russian airstrikes last month.

Late last year, the ISIS leader refuted reports of his death by releasing an audio message in which he said he is "confident of victory" and called on the people of Mosul to fight the "enemies of God".




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