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Homeland Security

Pentagon Officials: No Confirmation of Reports Islamic State Leader Is Dead

By VOA News July 11, 2017

Pentagon officials say they have no information to confirm reports that Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is dead.

"We cannot confirm this report, but hope it is true," said the U.S.-led coalition in an emailed statement. "We strongly advise ISIS to implement a strong line of succession, it will be needed."

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported Tuesday it has information confirming the death of the IS leader.

"We learned of it today but we do not know when he died or how," the monitoring group's director Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP.

Baghdadi, 46, has not been since in public in 2014, when he appeared at Mosul's al-Nuri mosque to declare an Islamic "caliphate" on lands IS controlled in Iraq and Syria. He has been falsely reported killed or wounded several times since becoming prominent three years ago.

IS militants blew up the mosque and its leading 45 minter minaret late last month as Iraqi forces worked to oust the militants from one of their last Mosul strongholds.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi formally declared victory over IS in Mosul on Monday

VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin contributed to this report.

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