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Friday, 16 June 2017

Russia claims IS leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi killed in airstrike

Baghdadi pictured at his first public appearance at a mosque in Mosul



The Russian military claims it has killed the leader of the Islamic State group in an airstrike.
Abu Bakr al Baghdadi was killed on 28 May along with other senior group commanders, according to the Russian defence ministry.

The strike targeted an IS meeting in Raqqa as senior commanders gathered to discuss the group's withdrawal from the de facto capital, the military said.
More than 300 fighters were killed by the air raids, including 30 mid-level militant leaders, it added.
Al Baghdadi's death, which has not yet been confirmed by coalition forces, would mark a significant military achievement for Russia, which has been active in Syria in support of President Bashar al Assad since September 2015.
Previous reports of al Baghdadi being killed turned out to be untrue.
Rami Abdulrahman, director of monitoring group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, cast doubt on the Russian report.
He said according to his information al Baghdadi was in a different part of Syria at the end of May.
In a statement, the Russian military said drones had been monitoring the area in expectation of IS leaders' gathering.
When the meeting was confirmed, a group of Su-34 bombers and Su-35 fighter jets were sent to strike it.
"According to the information that is being verified through various channels, IS leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi also attended the meeting and was killed in the airstrike," the Russian military said.
It added that it had warned the US of the strike in advance.
The US said that it could not confirm al Baghdadi's death.
"We cannot confirm these reports at this time," said US Army Colonel Ryan S Dillon, spokesman for the coalition's Operation Inherent Resolve.
US-backed forces seized a western district of Raqqa earlier this month, just days after capturing an eastern part of the city.

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