BAGHDAD — Refuting reports on the death of the Islamic State (IS) supreme leader, the Iraqi interior ministry has claimed that Abu Bakir al-Baghdadi to be still alive.
“According to monitoring cells and accurate information about his movement, and since we are more concerned with chasing and detecting the activity of Daesh (IS) leader and his followers, the Soqour Cell denies the news about his death, and recently circulated information are untrue,” said Abu Ali al-Basri, head of the ministry’s intelligence and counterterrorism, as reported by Iraqi News.
The official told the state-owned daily al-Sabah that Baghdadi is believed to be hiding in areas out of Raqqa, the group’s proclaimed capital city in Syria.
Earlier in June, Russia said the IS leader is likely to have been killed during an airstrike carried out by Russian jets.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based human rights watchdog, confirmed Baghdadi’s death last week. However, the US remains skeptical, saying it could not deny or confirm the reports.