Russian Federation says it 'may have killed' ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi

Vincent Carr
June 20, 2017

The spokesman for the USA -led, anti-Islamic State coalition said in a statement Friday that he could not confirm the Russian claim.

Col. Ryan Dillon, a spokesman for the US-led coalition's operation against ISIS in Syria and Iraq, said the coalition "cannot confirm these reports at this time".

The Russian military claims it has killed the leader of the Islamic State group in an airstrike.

Moscow claims its forces may have killed Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in an air strike in Syria last month, but Washington says it can't corroborate the death and Western and Iraqi officials are sceptical.

The airstrike on May 28 was carried out on the outskirts of the dreaded militant group's de facto capital Raqqa, on a command post where IS leaders were holding a meeting, according to Russian state media reports.

Su-35 and Su-34 jets were used in the strike, which was preceded by drone reconnaissance flights, the ministry said. It has offered a reward of up to United States dollars 25 million for information leading to his capture or death.

So far, there has been minimal reaction from online supporters of IS to news of the reported death of the group's leader, it said.

Russian Federation is trying to verify reports that its military has killed the leader of the Islamic State group in an air strike targeting a meeting of militant leaders.

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"If he has been killed, of course it would deal a big blow to the group, but let's just look at the past few weeks - we've had major terror attacks in London, in Baghdad, in Tehran, in Kabul".

To support the Kremlin's narrative that it was conducting pinpoint strikes against ISIS, the Russian Ministry of Defense released YouTube videos of several airstrikes purportedly against the terrorist group.

The report of Baghdadis death comes in wake of the Islamic State suffering major setbacks in which they have lost wide areas of territory including both their strongholds — Mosul in Iraq and Syrias Raqqa.

In the unlikely event that al-Baghdadi stuck around Raqqa, why in the world would he, a shadowy figure of a man known for taking elaborate security measures to ensure his safety, recklessly endanger himself by attending such a large meeting?

A character shrouded in mystery, Baghdadi's real name may be Ibrahim Awwad Ibrahim al-Badri, and he may have been born in 1971 in Samarra, an ancient Iraqi city in the so-called Sunni Triangle north of Baghdad. Al-Hayali was killed in an August 2015 airstrike by the Iraq.

Rami Abdulrahman, director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group, was quoted by Reuters news agency as saying he had information that Baghdadi was in another part of Syria at the end of May and was not killed.

Information for this article was contributed by Bassem Mroue, Lolita C. Baldor and Robert Burns of The Associated Press.

Other reports by BadHub

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