March 20, 2018

USA has no proof Baghdadi is dead, says Mattis

15 July 2017, 06:53 | Taylor George

Top US commander: No evidence ISIS's leader Baghdadi is still alive

Bulgaria U.S. Defense Secretary Cannot Prove Islamic State Chief is Dead

The United States does not have proof that the leader of the group islamic State (IS) Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was killed as announced by an NGO in syria, said Friday the minister of Defense, Jim Mattis. "(We have) confirmed information from leaders, including one of the first rank who is Syrian, in the Islamic State in the eastern countryside of Deir al-Zor", said Rami Abdulrahman, the director of the Britain-based war monitoring group.

A man purported to be the reclusive leader of the militant Islamic State Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi making what would have been his first public appearance in 2014. "We will look at the intelligence available. and we will give a statement when we have the requisite facts", he added.

There have been persistent reports that al-Baghdadi has died in recent months.

On 22 June, Russia had claimed to have "a strong likelihood" killed Baghdadi in an air strike at the end of may near the city of Raqa in Syria, information that had not been confirmed by any other source. But SOHR has been reputed to have a credible track record of reporting on the Syrian conflict.

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The U.S. has placed a $25 million bounty on Baghdadi's head.

"Daesh organization (ISIS) circulated a brief statement through its media in the (ISIS-held) town of Tal Afar in the west of Mosul, confirming the killing of its leader al-Baghdadi without giving further details", Al Sumaria reported.

The report came just days after the Iraqi Army recaptured the last sectors of the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, which Baghdadi's forces overran nearly exactly three years ago. ISIL territory is slowly losing ground in Syria and Iraq, and the death of their leader could be a severe blow.

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