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Russia Claims to Have Killed ISIS Leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi

Statement from the Russian Defense Ministry, via state news agency TASS: "The airstrike was carried out overnight to May 28 against a command post, where the IS group's leaders were meeting to discuss the routes for the terrorists'exit from Raqqa through the so-called southern corridor".

"We have no information to corroborate those reports", Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesperson, said Friday.

This is not the first time Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi has been romoured to have been killed or wounded, there has been many such instances prior to this where such claims where made.

So far, there has been minimal reaction from online supporters of IS to news of the reported death of the group's leader, it said.

More details about the changes are expected Friday, when the new policy is set to take effect. The development has not been confirmed, Russian officials say.

"I wouldn't believe the Russian sources based on anything they're hearing out of Syria". As a result, Iraqi officials are skeptical of Russia's claims, Reuters reported, and the US -led military coalition in the region could not confirm Baghdadi's death. Both of their remaining strongholds - Mosul in Iraq and Syria's Raqqa - are under attack by various groups who are fighting under the cover of airstrikes by the USA -led coalition. Indeed, when the United States military announced the start of the campaign to liberate Raqqa earlier this month, it could not even say for certain that Raqqa still serves as ISIS's capital.

The most wanted leader of the ISIS does not use a phone. But US officials stopped short of dismissing the report altogether, because it is hard to disprove such a claim.

The U.S. also could not confirm the report.

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It added that the information about his death was still "being verified through various channels".

ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was killed in a targeted airstrike near Raqqa last month, according to Russian defence.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson later said that it was a "matter of time" before the ISIS leader was killed.

A spokesman for the USA -led coalition fighting the Islamic State said he would welcome such news but urged caution. Moreover, the loss of terrain has slowed the flow of foreign fighters.

He also demanded that Havana return such USA fugitives as Joanne Chesimard, who eventually escaped after being convicted of the 1973 killing of a New Jersey state trooper, and three Cuban spies who were found guilty in a plot that led to the fatal shooting down of American pilots in 1996.

Questioning what Baghdadi would have been doing in that location, he said: "Is it reasonable that Baghdadi would put himself between a rock and a hard place of the [US-led] coalition and Russian Federation?" One of Baghdadi's aides may have been killed rather than Baghdadi himself, the colonel said. That means that any USA traveler now booked on a flight to Cuba in the next few weeks, or even months, could go ahead and make the trip. The IS leader last released an audio on November 3, urging his followers to keep up the fight for Mosul as they defend the Iraqi city against a major offensive that began weeks earlier.

One of the best known IS commanders, Abu Mohammed al-Adnani, the spokesman who frequently released audio messages calling for stepped-up attacks, was also killed past year.



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