Russia says Al-Baghdadi may have been killed in airstrike on Raqqa, Syria last month
Russia said on Friday its forces may have killed Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in an air strike in Syria last month, but Washington said it could not corroborate the death and Western and Iraqi officials were skeptical, Reuters reported on Friday.
The secretive Islamic State leader has frequently been reported killed or wounded since he declared a caliphate to rule over all Muslims from a mosque in Mosul in 2014, after leading his fighters on a sweep through northern Iraq, it added.
If the report does prove true, it would be one of the biggest blows yet to Islamic State, which is trying to defend its shrinking territory against an array of forces backed by regional and global powers in both Syria and Iraq, according to Reuters.
Reuters added that in the absence of independent confirmation, some U.S. officials said U.S. agencies were skeptical of the report. Several Iraqi security officials said Iraq was doubtful as well.
“His death has been reported so often that you have to be cautious till a formal Daesh statement comes,” a European security official said, using an Arabic acronym for the group, as reported by Reuters.
U.S. Navy Captain Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, said: “We have no information to corroborate those reports.” It also added.
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