Isis leader dead? Russia claims it has killed Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has been reported dead several times before so the news has been met with scepticism (Sipa Press/REX/Shutterstock)
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has been reported dead several times before so the news has been met with scepticism (Sipa Press/REX/Shutterstock)

The Russian military has said it has killed the leader of Isis in an airstrike.

The defence ministry said on Friday that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was killed in a Russian strike in late May along with other senior group commanders.

If confirmed, it would mark a major military success for Russia, which has conducted a military campaign in support of Syrian president Bashar Assad since September 2015.

The air strike was launched after the Russian forces in Syria received intelligence that a meeting of Isis leaders was being planned, the ministry said in a statement posted on its Facebook page.

“On May 28, after drones were used to confirm the information on the place and time of the meeting of IS leaders, between 00:35 and 00:45, Russian air forces launched a strike on the command point where the leaders were located,” the statement said.

“According to the information which is now being checked via various channels, also present at the meeting was Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who was eliminated as a result of the strike,” the ministry said.

It is not the first time reports have emerged claiming the Isis leader has been killed.

However, five days ago, reports emerge from groups on the ground in Raqqa that Baghdadi may have been killed.

There has been no confirmation or comment on the reports by Amaq – the terror group’s media arm.

The U.S.-led coalition fighting Islamic State said it could not confirm the Russian report that Baghdadi may have been killed.

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

The ministry said the strike came as IS leaders gathered to discuss the group’s withdrawal from Raqqa, the group’s de facto capital.

It added it had warned the US of the coming strike and that among the dead were other Isis leaders including Abu al-Khadji al-Mysri, Ibrahim al-Naef al-Khadj and Suleiman al-Shauah.

This article will be updated shortly

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