A Syrian human rights organization claims that it has “confirmed information” that the leader of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, has been eliminated. This confirms the claim made by the Russian Foreign Ministry a month ago that al-Baghdadi was killed in an air strike, but the Pentagon still insists that they do not have enough information to confirm his death.
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in Mosul, 2014 Photo Credit: Channel 2 News
A member of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Tuesday that it has “confirmed information” that ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has been eliminated. “(We have) confirmed information from leaders, including one of the first rank, in [Isis territory] in the eastern countryside of Deir Ezzor,” Rami Abdulrahman, director of the UK-based group, told Reuters.
Rumors of his death have been making their rounds since his first and only public appearance in 2014 in which he announced the establishment of the terrorist organization. In June, the Russian Foreign Ministry reported that al-Baghdadi and other senior level members of ISIS had been killed in an air strike in Syria, but US intelligence said it could not substantiate the claims.
— #المرصدالسوري #SOHR (@syriahr) July 11, 2017
Thus far, Amaq, ISIS’ official news agency, has been silent on the matter. Earlier today, an Iraqi source was quoted by the Al Sumaria website, affiliated with the terrorist organization, confirming that the ISIS leader had indeed been eliminated. According to the website, ISIS is about to issue an announcement introducing the “new Caliph” of the Islamic State. According to Ali Shirazi, a member of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, there is no doubt that al-Baghdadi was killed in an air strike. Iran’s state news agency also confirmed the rumors, saying that al-Baghdadi is “definitely dead.”
In Washington, however, senior Pentagon officials told Reuters that it was impossible to say for sure that al-Baghdadi, who is on the Trump administration’s hit list along with other senior members of the organization, had indeed been eliminated. “We take any report of this nature with a large dose of salt,” said Sebastian Gorka, deputy assistant to US President Donald Trump. “We will verify it. We will look at the intelligence available…we will give a statement when we have the requisite facts.”