ISIS leader may have died in airstrike near Raqqa — Russian military

Elias Hubbard
June 26, 2017

Within hours, the U.S. military said it could not immediately confirm Baghdadi's death. This report of Baghdadi's death could not be confirmed, according to Colonel John Dorrian, who is the spokesperson for the US -led coalition.

The ISIS leader's death has been reported more than a dozen times in the past.

The high-ranking meeting was called to make a strategy for exit of militants from Raqqa through the so-called southern corridor, it claimed. It also claimed that about 30 mid-level field commanders and up to 300 militants acting as bodyguards were also present.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says he can't definitively confirm the death of the Islamic State group's leader in a Russian airstrike.

According to the translated version of the Defense Ministry's Facebook Post, the ISIS leader perished when the location of the conference was "liquidated" in the airstrike.

The strike occurred between 9.35pm to 9.45pm GMT on May 27 following confirmation of the meeting by a drone.

Questioning what Baghdadi would have been doing in that location, he said: "Is it reasonable that Baghdadi would put himself between a rock and a hard place of the [U.S. -led] coalition and Russian Federation?"

There had been previous reports of al-Baghdadi being killed, but they did not turn out to be true. They are republished from a number of sources, and are not produced by MintPress News.

Officials had long described the ISIS leader as enemy No. 1 in the fight against ISIS, and speculation had swirled over his whereabouts.

Baghdadi, said to be in his mid-40s has not been seen in public since proclaiming himself "caliph" in the Iraqi city of Mosul three years ago. "Some experts view the deployment there of such serious weapons as an intention to create an additional military grouping to ensure steady communication channels between the government and pro-government forces in Syria and their partners in Iraq", Lavrov stressed.

After he was released, he rose to become the leader of al Qaeda in Iraq, but later split with al Qaeda's central leadership, which has criticised ISIS for its brutality. The group has since horrified the world with its atrocities in areas they held as well as attacks they claimed around the world that killed hundreds. And the brutality has continued, despite military setbacks. However, the report could not be confirmed by the coalition spokesmen. The US is offering a $25m (€22.3m) reward for information leading to his death or capture.

Abu Bakr-al Baghdadi dead?

CNN's Barbara Starr, Mary Ilyushina and Schams Elwazer contributed reporting.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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