Wounded IS chief alive in Syria, says Iraqi official

15 February, 2018, 07:45 | Author: Brenda Erickson
  • ABC News

There has been inconclusive evidence to prove whether Baghdadi is dead or alive, but several USA officials told CNN that reports from ISIS detainees and refugees in northern Syria placed the world's most wanted man near Raqqa when a missile struck in May.

U.S. intelligence agencies have assessed with a high degree of confidence that the world's most wanted man was near Raqqa, Syria, when the missile struck, the officials said on Sunday.

The assessment seems to have been based on reports from IS detainees and refugees in Syria, although it is not clear who carried out the airstrike in question.

According to Al-Basri, al-Baghdadi is still alive and living in the Syrian Desert close to the Iraqi border.

He added the ISIS chief had suffered from "fractures and serious wounds" which were likely the result of previous airstrikes on the organization's strongholds in Iraq and Syria.

"We have information and documents from our sources deep within the body of the terrorist group stating that the criminal al-Baghdadi is still alive with the help of his collaborators, " Al-Basri said.

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However, that claim has since been disputed by US and Russian leadership.

In December that year, The Pentagon said it believed that the ISIS chief was alive, despite repeated efforts by the USA -led coalition.

Russia's defence ministry has said it may have killed al-Baghdadi in one of its air raids on the outskirts of Syria's Raqqa, which was known as Islamic State's capital.

In September, ISIS released a recording of Baghdadi, presumably to refute reports of his death.

In recent years, there have been endless conflicting reports about Baghdadi's whereabouts and about whether he is even alive.

He did not swear allegiance to the leader of the al-Qaeda franchise, Ayman al-Zawahiri, who had urged IS to focus on Iraq and leave Syria to al-Nusra.

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