Pentagon chief claims, IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is alive

22 July, 2017 6:09:00

Pentagon chief Jim Mattis on Saturday said that he believes Islamic State chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is still alive, following various claims he was dead. “I think Baghdadi’s alive… and I’ll believe otherwise when we know we’ve killed him,” Mattis told Pentagon reporters.

“We are going after him, but we suppose that he is alive.” There have been persistent rumors that Baghdadi has died in recent months. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a longtime conflict monitor, last week said it had heard from senior IS leaders in Syria’s Deir Ezzor province that Baghdadi was dead.

Russia’s army said in mid-June that it was seeking to verify whether it had killed the IS chief in a May air strike in Syria. With a $25 million US bounty on his head, Baghdadi has kept a low profile but was rumored to move regularly throughout IS-held territory in Iraq and Syria.

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