A typically reliable human rights group said Tuesday it had “confirmed” intel that ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi had been killed.
“(We have) confirmed information from leaders, including one of the first rank, in the Islamic State in the eastern countryside of Deir al-Zor,” Rami Abdulrahman, director of the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, told Reuters.
The monitoring group’s sources in Deir al-Zor, Syria, reportedly learned of the terror group leader’s death from ISIS sources, but “they did not specify when,” Abdulrahman said.
A Defense Department spokesman said the department had “nothing to release at this point” when reached by the Daily News.
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U.S. Central Command also couldn’t confirm the report.
“We do not have any operational reporting nor do we have any corroborating evidence to confirm reports Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has been killed,” a spokesman told The News.
President Trump did not directly confirm the death — but tweeted Tuesday morning, sans context, “Big wins against ISIS!”
Less-credible sources have long disseminated unconfirmed reports of Al-Baghdadi’s death.
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The Russian Defense Ministry in June speculated it may have killed him in an airstrike near Syria’s Raqqa the previous month, though the U.S. could not back up the claim.
Al-Baghdadi’s demise would signal a significant setback for ISIS, which is attempting to salvage its diminishing ground in Iraq and Syria.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights’ apparent confirmation came a day after Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi in Mosul declared victory over the Islamic State, which had seized the nation’s second-largest city in June 2014.
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