US Counterterror Director Says No Info Indicates Daesh Leader Baghdadi Dead
19:32 21.07.2017(updated 19:34 21.07.2017)
US National Counterterrorism Center Director Nick Rasmussen said on Friday that has seen not seen any evidence that would indicate Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, leader of Daesh terrorist group, has been killed.
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – On June 16, the Russian Defense Ministry said Baghdadi was likely to be eliminated as a result of a Russian Aerospace Forces strike on a militant command post in the southern suburb of the city of Raqqa in late May. It noted that it was in the process of confirming the information through various channels.
Earlier in July, Al Sumaria News broadcaster claimed that Daesh issued a statement confirming Baghdadi's death. However, Russian services are verifying contradictory intelligence on whether al-Baghdadi is dead or alive, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said earlier.
"Bottom line: I've seen nothing that would lead me to believe that the leader of ISIS [Daesh] has been removed from the battlefield," Rasmussen said at the Aspen Security Forum.
Rasmussen noted that there have been numerous news and social media reports of Baghdadi's death over the years, many have been unreliable and none have been proven true.
"I just don't have information that would confirm his demise," Rasmussen said.
The National Counterterrorism Center director added that Daesh has a vested interest in signaling the United States should stop looking for Baghdadi.
Al-Baghdadi appeared in the media for the first time in 2014 when he declared the creation of a caliphate in the Middle East. Since then, the media several times reported about the death of Daesh leader, though the information has never been confirmed.
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