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Iraq Investigates Possible Death of IS Chief Commander After Airstrikes

RIA Novosti

20:55 09/11/2014

MOSCOW, November 9 (RIA Novosti) - The fate of the IS chief commander Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is currently unknown, as rumors are circulating that he was injured or even killed during a recent US-led airstrike in Iraq, which targeted a group of jihadist leaders near the city of Mosul, AFP reported on Sunday.

'Until now, there is no accurate information available,' an Iraqi high-ranking official said, cited by the news agency. 'The information is from unofficial sources and was not confirmed until now,' he added.

According to Deutsche Welle, Iraqi authorities have said that several alleged IS leaders were killed during the airstrike. However, neither the US, nor Iraqi officials can give any precise information about Baghdadi, who has topped the US list of terrorist commanders for several years now. For Baghdadi's capture, US authorities have announced a reward of $10 million.

'We cannot confirm if [IS] leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was among those present,' said Patrick Ryder, US Central Command spokesman, referring to the targeted gathering of jihadi leaders. 'Probably it will take some days to have absolute confirmation,' the British armed forces representative added.

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is one of the key figures of the Islamic State movement and, therefore, one of the main targets of the US-led coalition. Baghdadi, who proclaimed himself a caliph of the IS, is reported to be one of the most powerful terrorist groups' leaders. His killing would be a major success for coalition forces and a serious blow for the jihadi movement, Deutsche Welle reports.

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