Middle East

US cannot confirm Daesh leader Baghdadi’s death

Defense Secretary James Mattis responds to reports Baghdadi killed

15.07.2017
US cannot confirm Daesh leader Baghdadi’s death

By Michael Hernandez

WASHINGTON

Defense Secretary James Mattis said Friday the U.S. can’t confirm claims Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, Daesh's proclaimed "caliph", is dead.

"We assume he's alive until it's proven otherwise. And right now, I can't prove it otherwise," Mattis told reporters. "If we knew, we would tell you. Right now, I can't confirm or deny it."

The U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights was the latest group to claim Baghdadi is dead when it said earlier this week sources within Syria's Deir ez-Zour city had confirmed it.

Last month, Russia claimed it had likely killed Baghdadi in an airstrike on a southern suburb of Daesh's Syrian capital, Raqqah.

The U.S. has placed a $25 million bounty on Baghdadi's head.


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