UN unable to confirm death of ISIL leader Baghdadi

President Donald J. Trump and Ivanka Trump

President Donald J. Trump and Ivanka Trump

The US-led coalition battling Islamic State said on Friday it could not confirm a Russian report that the leader of the jihadist group, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, may have been killed in a Russian air strike in Syria.

There had been previous reports of Baghdadi being killed but they did not turn out to be true.

"I'm not going to take this too seriously because there have been at least five reported killings of al-Baghdadi over the last three years", he said.

A USA -led coalition is assisting Iraqi forces in the Mosul battle and supporting the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which includes Arab and Kurdish militias, in Raqqa.

As the militants take a pounding in their eroding strongholds, U.S. officials and Syrian activists say many commanders have fled Mosul and Raqqa in recent months for Mayadeen, a remote town in the heart of Syria's IS-controlled Euphrates River valley near the Iraqi border. Their relocation could extend the group's ability to wreak havoc in the region and beyond for months to come. Washington said it could not corroborate Baghdadi's death and Western and Iraqi officials were skeptical.

The ministry said the air raid on May 28 that targeted an IS meeting held on the southern outskirts of Raqqa in Syria also killed about 30 mid-level militant leaders and about 300 other fighters.

Russia's defense ministry says Al-Baghdadi was attending a meeting with Isis leaders when the airstrike happened.

However, a Reuters report quoting a colonel with the Iraqi national security service said Baghdadi was not believed to have been in Raqqa at the time of the strike in late May.

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Sekulow did not provide much evidence for that statement, which he repeated as he made the rounds on Sunday talk shows. Later, however, in an interview on " Fox News Sunday ", Sekulow conceded that he could not be sure of his statement.

On Monday, IS released an audio message from its chief spokesman, Abu al-Hassan al-Muhajer, urging supporters to carry out attacks in the United States and Europe during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

Mr Lavrov said that if al-Baghdadi's death is confirmed, its importance must not be overestimated.

Russian Federation sent an air force contingent to Syria in September 2015 to shore up President Bashar al-Assad, bombing both IS and other rebel groups opposed to the government.

Al-Baghdadi is a nom de guerre for a man identified as Ibrahim Awwad Ibrahim Ali al-Badri al-Samarrai.

U.S. authorities offered a $25 million reward for information leading to his capture.

Su-35 and Su-34 jets were used in the strike, which was preceded by drone reconnaissance flights, the ministry said.

In addition, the ministry noted that a total of 16 automotive and armored vehicles and tanks, one artillery, four control posts and an ammunition storage depot were destroyed in the strikes.

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