Russia Claims They Killed ISIS Leader
Russia announced that they may have killed the leader of ISIS in an airstrike outside of Syria, but U.S. officials have said there’s no proof of death. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s death would be a severe blow to the extremist group if the claim is true.
ISIS is currently fighting to hold on to their strongholds in both Syria and Iraq, but it’s currently unclear how much operational control they group still has on and off the battlefield, especially if they have lost their leader.
Moscow claimed that they may have killed the ISIS leader during a May 28 airstrike, along with another 300 militants, as the Russian Defense Ministry said the death was still “being verified through various channels.”
Sources Have Not Concerned The Death
The Associated Press reports:
“Asked about that claim at a Moscow news conference, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said: “I don’t have a 100 percent confirmation of the information.” A spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition fighting the Islamic State said he would welcome such news but urged caution.”
“There have been several past claims of this kind that have been proven false, and we have seen no definitive proof that this report is true either,” U.S. Army Col. Ryan Dillon said. Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, also said there was no information to corroborate the report.”
“Al-Baghdadi, believed to be in his mid-40s, last released an audio message Nov. 3, urging his followers to keep up the fight for Mosul as they defended the Iraqi city against a major offensive that had begun weeks earlier.”
Russia Has Made Similar Claims In Past
CNN senior international correspondent Clarissa Ward warned the details from the Russians were inconsistent with the typical behavior of ISIS leaders. “I’m not going to take this too seriously because there have been at least five reported killings of al-Baghdadi over the last three years,” he said. “I wouldn’t believe the Russian sources based on anything they’re hearing out of Syria.”