Syrian Monitoring Group Says IS Leader Baghdadi Is Dead
July 11, 2017
The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says it has received "confirmed information" from sources within the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group that IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is dead.
In a statement on July 11, observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman said Baghdadi died in Deir al-Zor Province in eastern Syria, but he did not say when or how.
Both the White House and U.S. military officials said they were unable to confirm Baghdadi's death.
Sebastian Gorka, a senior adviser to President Donald Trump, told U.S. media on July 11 that the United States could not immediately verify the report.
The U.S. general who heads the coalition fighting the Islamic State group said he had no information that would confirm or deny claims that Baghdadi is dead.
Lieutenant General Stephen Townsend said he had heard "all kinds of reporting" about Baghdadi's status.
"I don't have a clue," Townsend said in a video call from Baghdad.
Kurdish and Iraqi officials also had no immediate confirmation.
Earlier in the day, Iraq's Al-Sumaria television station cited an IS source as confirming Baghdadi's death.
One month ago, Russia's Defense Ministry announced it believed it had killed Baghdadi in an air strike near the city of Raqqa, in Deir al-Zor, on May 28.
Known IS-affiliated social-media accounts have not issued any comment.
Baghdadi's death has been erroneously announced several times in the past.
Based on reporting by Reuters, AFP, and AP
Copyright (c) 2017. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
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