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Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi Dead? Experts Question His Death

Independent experts are expressing skepticism about the fast-spreading claims of the terrorist leader’s death, which reportedly was broadcast late Saturday on Syrian state television

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Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi
This image taken from a militant website July 5, 2014, purports to show the leader of the Islamic State group, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. VOA
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  • Experts are showing skepticism about al-Baghdadi’s death
  • British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has confirmed intense air raids on Raqqa
  • Terrorism analyst Michael Smith cited after viewing the video that he do not believe the body to be that of al-Baghdadi

June 12, 2017: U.S. military officials say they have no information to confirm or deny a report Islamic State leader ISIS Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has been killed in an air strike.

Independent experts are expressing skepticism about the fast-spreading claims of the terrorist leader’s death, which reportedly was broadcast late Saturday on Syrian state television. However, the British Broadcasting Corp’s monitoring service said Sunday it had detected no such report on either state television or Syria’s state news agency, SANA.

This undated frame grab from video posted online May 29, 2017, by the Aamaq News Agency, a media arm of the Islamic State group, shows people inspecting damage from airstrikes and artillery shelling in the northern Syrian city of Raqqa. VOA

A spokesperson on weekend duty at the U.S. Defense Department told VOA she had received queries about the reports but had no information to confirm or deny it.

Also Read: Invisible Sheikh of ISIS Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi killed; how he built caliphate

Air raids on Raqqa

The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has confirmed intense air raids on Raqqa, where anti-IS forces began a major offensive last week. Reports from the region say the Amaq news agency, which is publicly identified with Islamic State, showed video of a body purported to be that of al-Baghdadi.

However, the British newspaper The Scotsman cited a tweet by terrorism analyst Michael Smith saying he has viewed the video and does not believe the body to be that of al-Baghdadi.

Multiple previous claims that the IS leader had been killed have proven to be false. VOA

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The Son Of The Islamic State leader al-Baghdadi Dies: IS

Al-Baghdadi's fate is still unknown

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This image from video posted in July purports to show Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi delivering a sermon in Iraq, July 5, 2014. Islamic State media has announced the death of the leader's son.
This image from video posted in July purports to show Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi delivering a sermon in Iraq, July 5, 2014. Islamic State media has announced the death of the leader's son. VOA

The son of the Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has died in a suicide attack mission in the city of Homs in western Syria, according to the IS media al-Nashir News.

Posting the photograph of a young boy, purportedly Hudhayfah al-Badri, al-Baghdadi’s son, the outlet said he lost his life in an operation against the Russian forces deployed in Homs and the Syrian government forces, referred to as Nusayriyyah by IS.

“Hudhayfah al-Badri (may Allah accept him), the son of the Caliph (may Allah safeguard him), was killed in an inghimasi [suicide] operation against the Nusayriyyah and the Russians at the thermal power station in Homs Willayah,” the news outlet reported.

Inghimasi refers to suicide operations in which a fighter, clad with explosive belt and armed with regular weapons, attacks an enemy position before detonating himself to inflict as much damage on the enemy as possible.

The U.S. military said it has seen the reports of al-Badri’s death but declined any confirmation.

“It would be inappropriate for us to comment on an attack on forces outside the Coalition. We have nothing more to provide,” U.S. Central Command told VOA.

An Iraqi national, al-Baghdadi, whose real name is Ibrahim Awad al-Badri, announced the Islamic State caliphate in the city of Mosul in June 2014 and made himself its caliph. The leader has since become the world’s most wanted man, with a $25 million bounty on his head.

Islamic Terrorism in NYC
Bicycles and debris lay on a bike path after a motorist drove onto the path near the World Trade Center memorial, striking and killing several people, Oct. 31, 2017, in New York. VOA

Al-Baghdadi’s fate is still unknown, with various reports claiming his death and injury several times, including a claim by the Russian Defense Ministry that he might have been hit by a Russian airstrike in 2017.

Those claims have been rejected by U.S. officials and the whereabouts of the elusive leader remain unknown.

Al-Baghdadi’s infamous role in IS has put a spotlight on his family. In March 2014, al-Baghdadi’s wife, Sujidah al-Dulaimi, was released, along with her two sons and daughter, in exchange for 13 nuns taken captive by al-Qaida-linked al-Nusra Front militants.

Also read: Will the Latest Message From Islamic State Leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi Provoke New Attacks in the West?

It was reported that only the girl was al-Baghdadi’s daughter. The two boys belonged to a man his wife had married before meeting al-Baghdadi. (IANS)