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Syrian Observatory for Human Rights: 'confirmed information' that ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has been killed
UPDATE: Syrian state TV (obviously not the most reliable source) is also confirming the kill.
According to a new Reuters report, there's some good news in the battle against ISIS. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights is claiming that it has "confirmed information" indicating that a Russian attack killed Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
The report came just days after the Iraqi army recaptured the last sectors of the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, which Baghdadi's forces overran almost exactly three years ago.
Russia's Defence Ministry said in June that it might have killed Baghdadi when one of its air strikes hit a gathering of Islamic State commanders on the outskirts of the Syrian city of Raqqa. But Washington said it could not corroborate the death and Western and Iraqi officials have been skeptical.
"(We have) confirmed information from leaders, including one of the first rank who is Syrian, in the Islamic State in the eastern countryside of Deir al-Zor," said Rami Abdulrahman, the director of the British-based war monitoring group.
...The death of Baghdadi, who declared a caliphate governed by Islamic law from a mosque in Mosul in 2014, would be one of the biggest blows yet to the jihadist group, which is trying to defend shrinking territory in Syria and Iraq."
If you're thinking "haven't I heard this story before?" Well, yes. You have. In fact, you've heard it several times. Baghdadi has displayed an almost Rasputin-like ability to return from the false grave. The most recent indication that he was killed came June 16th, and it's that attack that the Syrian Observatory appears to be confirming.
So far, the Pentagon claims it has no information that corroborates the story, though they are trying to confirm it. According to Sebastian Gorka, deputy assistant to President Donald Trump "We take any report of this nature with a large dose of salt. We will verify it. We will look at the intelligence available ... and we will give a statement when we have the requisite facts."
Likewise, Coalition spokesman Colonel Ryan Dillon was unable to confirm the kill, said they were investigating, and offered ISIS a bit of advice: 'We strongly advise ISIS to implement a strong line of succession, it will be needed,'
For the record, The Daily Mail is reporting that ISIS has confirmed the death of its leader, and members are scrambling to find a replacement:
ISIS has finally admitted its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is dead, according to reports in Iraq.
The terror group is said to have confirmed that the 45-year-old was killed in an air strike in the Iraqi province of Nineveh.
Reports claim ISIS fanatics are scrambling to find a successor to the terror chief, who announced the formation of the group's so-called caliphate in Mosul in 2014.
So, while we're still waiting for an absolute confirmation, it certainly sounds like a major player has been removed from the board.
Here's a Fox Business report from Jun 16th, when the attack took place.