Friday, 18 August, 2017

United States can not confirm Daesh leader Baghdadi's death

MARWAN IBRAHIM  AFP  Getty MARWAN IBRAHIM AFP Getty
Kenny Thornton | 15 July, 2017, 17:34

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on July 14 that the United States can not prove that Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is dead.

"If we knew, I tell you". The 46-year-old Iraqi has not been seen since making his only known public appearance as "caliph" in 2014 at the Grand Mosque of Al-Nuri in Mosul, which was destroyed in the battle for Iraq´s second city.

"We take any report of this nature with a large dose of salt", said Sebastian Gorka, deputy assistant to US President Donald Trump.

The Syrian Observatory's sources did not indicate when or how the ISIS leader supposedly died, except that he has supposedly been living in the Deir Ezzor area for the last three months. Washington said it could not corroborate the death and Western and Iraqi officials have been sceptical.

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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.

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

The top military commander leading the U.S. fight against ISIS says there is no evidence that its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is alive, Politico reported. ISIL territory is slowly losing ground in Syria and Iraq, and the death of their leader could be a severe blow.

This announcement follows the complete recapture of Mosul by the Iraqi armies, declared by the Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi yesterday.

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