Russian Federation claims it killed two more IS commanders in Syria - Ifax

Pauline Gross
June 20, 2017

Western sources said they could not corroborate the death while Iraqi officials said they were sceptical about reports about the secretive leader.

Russian Federation "may have killed" ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, according to reports.

The group has lost many of its top commanders in US -led airstrikes, including Fadhil Ahmad al-Hayali, said by USA officials to be the second in command. However, Col. Ryan Dillon, a spokesman for the US-led coalition's operation against IS in Syria and Iraq, said he "cannot confirm these reports at this time".

The Russian military claims it has killed the leader of the Islamic State group in an airstrike.

Russia's Defense Ministry says it is investigating reports that ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was killed in one of its airstrikes in Syria last month.

The ministry said an air strike may have killed Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and up to 330 other fighters on 28 May.

It said the IS leaders were discussing the group's withdrawal from Raqqa, with the military planning the airstrike after hearing that the leadership would be meeting.

The Russian military initially sent drones to monitor the area and then dispatched a group of Su-34 bombers and Su-35 fighter jets to hit the ISIS gathering.

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"The information is that as of the end of last month Baghdadi was in Deir al-Zor, in the area between Deir al-Zor and Iraq, in Syrian territory", he said by phone.

"His death has been reported so often that you have to be cautious till a formal Daesh statement comes", a European security official said, using an Arabic acronym for the group, as reported by Reuters.

In a statement posted on Facebook by the Ministry, Russian forces in Syria carried out an airstrike following intelligence information that an Islamic State leader's meeting is being scheduled.

There have been multiple reports of Baghdadi's death in the past that have turned out to be false.

There has been no official comment from Syria's government. Both attacks would have occurred after al-Baghdadi's alleged killing.

The claim comes almost three years to the day after al-Baghdadi declared himself the leader of IS from a historic mosque in Mosul, the largest city the group has ever held.

A character shrouded in mystery, Baghdadi's real name may be Ibrahim Awwad Ibrahim al-Badri, and he may have been born in 1971 in Samarra, an ancient Iraqi city in the so-called Sunni Triangle north of Baghdad.

Born Ibrahim al-Samarrai, Baghdadi is an Iraqi in his mid-forties, who broke away from al Qaeda in 2013 after years participating in the insurgency against US forces in Iraq and the Iraqi government. The Russian Defense Ministry said the information about his death was still "being verified through various channels". Both are under attack by various groups that are fighting under the cover of airstrikes by the US-led coalition.

Other reports by GizPress

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