Islamic State leader Baghdadi 'may have been killed by Russia'

Frederick Owens
June 28, 2017

"According to information, which is being verified via various channels, the meeting was also attended by Daesh leader Ibrahim Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who was killed during the strike", it added.

"We can not confirm these reports at this time", said US Army Colonel Ryan S Dillon, spokesman for the coalition's Operation Inherent Resolve in Syria and Iraq.

In April al Baghdadi, leader of the infamous militant terror organization Islamic State [ISIS], was reportedly under siege and close to being either captured or killed, according to Russian news agency RIA Novosti citing Iraqi military sources. The report said that the air strike had targeted a meeting of top ISIS chiefs, including al-Baghdadi.

Russian Federation said Friday that the leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) was believed to have been killed in an airstrike on a meeting of the group's leaders just outside its de facto capital in Syria, but western officials cast doubt on the claim.

The ministry said the IS leaders were gathered to discuss the group's withdrawal from Raqqa, the group's de facto capital.

The ministry claims it informed the USA of the airstrike in advance.

A senior Trump administration official noted "a number of infirmities" in the reports, which have given USA officials reason to question their accuracy.

The airstrike was carried out following drone footage confirmation of the council's meeting location, state-run Sputnik reported.

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In March, US defence officials said al-Baghdadi left Mosul before Iraqi forces began their offensive there.

Russian Federation in September 2015 launched a bombing campaign in Syria in support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and its efforts against IS jihadists are separate from the US-led coalition which supports Syrian rebels.

CNN Senior International Correspondent Clarissa Ward warned that the details provided by the Russians were inconsistent with the typical behavior of ISIS leaders.

He has not been seen in public since proclaiming himself "caliph" in the Iraqi city of Mosul three years ago.

The offering a $25 million reward for information leading to his death or capture. In recent years, previous reports of Baghdadi's death have proved inaccurate.

"We can not confirm", coalition spokesman John Dorrian told Reuters.

The statement released by the Russian military added that other militant leaders such as Abu al-Khadji al-Mysri, Ibrahim al-Naef al-Khadj and Suleiman al-Shauah were also among the dead.

"Some of those infirmities suggested that this happened at the end of May and that there were upwards of 300 or more soldiers killed in that strike", said the official, who asked not to be identified.

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