There is a $25 million bounty for his head. 66 countries are fighting together for 3 years to capture him. The organization he leads has become a nightmare group for the entire world. And now Russia claims that its fighter jets killed Islamic State’s notorious leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
On Friday, Moscow said Russian forces may have removed him in an air strike in ISIS’s self-proclaimed capital Raqqa last month.
The news of the ISIS leader’s alleged death, who has been controlling over the biggest two oil refineries in Iraq’s Mosul and Syria’s Raqqa, has dominated headlines in the Middle East. Russia’s announcement, however, also reinforced suspicions that this is part of Moscow’s clandestine information war and is an effort shift the focus from the Qatar crisis to the fight against ISIS.
The Russian Defense Ministry said on its Facebook page that “Moscow launched an air strike on the command point where ISIS leaders were in a meeting according to intelligence received.” According to the statement, Baghdadi was also present at the meeting and was eliminated as a result of the strike.
Key players in the region, however, quickly dismissed the claim. Pentagon spokesman Navy Captain Jeff Davis said they would not corroborate those reports of Russia. Iraqi officials were also skeptical about Russia’s claim.
The “ghost” leader of ISIS has also previously been reported killed or wounded many times since he declared a caliphate from the pulpit of Mosul’s medieval Grand al-Nuri mosque in 2014. It was the last public video footage of Baghdadi and led many comments about his impact on public back then.
If Moscow proves its claim to be true, it would be a milestone for the terrorist organization itself and for the global coalition against ISIS. ISIS fighters, after nearly 3 years of brutal rule over critical lands both in Iraq and Syria, are close to defeat by courtesy of wide coalition led by including U.S. and aided by Russia.
ISIS fighters, after nearly 3 years of brutal rule over critical lands both in Iraq and Syria, are close to defeat by courtesy of wide coalition led by including U.S. and aided by Russia.
Born in Ibrahim al-Samarrai, Baghdadi is an Iraqi in his mid-forties, had a doctorate degree in Baghdad Islamic University on Islamic culture, history, and sharia (law). He was a preacher in Saddam’s Iraq, soon turned out to be a warlord after U.S. toppled him in 2003. In 2004, U.S. troops detained him briefly.
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