Syrian Observatory says Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has died
The report of Baghdadi’s death came just days after the Iraqi army captured the last sectors of Mosul, the northern Iraqi city, which Baghdadi's forces overran almost exactly three years ago.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) on 11 July 2017 said that it has confirmed information that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the chief of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), has died.
Rami Abdel Rahman, the director of the monitoring group, has told to the news agency that they learned of the death today. He said Observatory sources in Syria's eastern town of Deir al-Zor had been told by IS sources that Baghdadi had died but they did not specify when.
Pertinently, Baghdadi's death had been announced many times before but the Observatory has a track record of credible reporting on Syria's civil war.
In the meantime, an American multimedia news source quoted Pentagon officials as saying they have no information to confirm reports that Baghdadi is dead. The news of his death comes a day after Iraq declared it had driven Islamic State from their one-time biggest stronghold of Mosul in Iraq.
There have been persistent rumours of Baghdadi's death in recent months. Last month, Russia's army said that it was seeking to verify whether it had killed the IS chief in an airstrike in the Syrian city of Raqqa in May.
Timeline of Baghdadi’s death: It is not the first or second time that the leader of ISIS has been reported dead. Earlier, he has been reported dead on several occasions but interestingly, he managed to re-emerge every time.
Let’s have a look at some news that claimed his Deaths
• April 2017: It was reported that a Baghdadi was wounded after US helicopters landed in ISIS territory to assassinate him.
• June 2016: On June 14, it was reported that Baghdadi was killed in a US-led airstrike on Raqqa, which was the fifth day of Ramadan. Later, the reports turned out to be inaccurate.
• October 2015: It was claimed that Iraqi Air Forces has successfully bombed Bghdadi’s convoy in the Anbar province near the Syrian border. Later, reports came that he was not in the convoy.
• March 2015: News was that he was grievously injured during a coalition airstrike that his the al-Baaj District of Iraq. It was reported that the ISIS leaders were considering his replacement as he succumbed to the wounds.
• November 2014: It was believed that Baghdadi has died after the US-led coalition blew up a ten-truck convoy of the ISIS near Mosul. However, he re-emerged as the chief of the group via a 17-minute audio take a week later.
Who is Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi?
• Born as Ibrahim Awad al-Samarrai on 28 July 1971 in Tobchi in a poor area near Samarra, north of the capital Baghdad, Baghdadi is the leader of the Sunni Salafi-jihadist militant, a jihadist organisation known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
• He is the same person who on 4 July 2014, declared a caliphate governed Islamic law from a Mosul's medieval al-Nuri mosque.
• The United States put up a $25 million reward for his capture. The amount is same as it was offered for al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and his successor Ayman al-Zawahiri.
• He belonged to a family that included preachers from the ultra-conservative Salafi school of Sunni Islam, which sees many other branches of the faith as heretical and other religions as anathema.
• He joined the Salafi jihadist insurgency in 2003, the year when the US invaded Iraq.
Other Islamic State leaders who have been killed in Iraq and Syria since the US-led coalition began its air strikes are
• Abu Ali al-Anbari: He was the deputy of Baghdadi and the group's "minister of war"
• Abu Omar al-Shishani: He was a close military adviser to Baghdadi
• Abu Mohammad al-Adnani: He was one of its most prominent and longest-serving leaders of Baghdadi.
(With Support of Inputs from Reuters)