Is ISIS Leader al-Baghdadi alive and on the run or killed in some sort of strike?

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Is ISIS Leader al-Baghdadi alive and on the run or killed in some sort of strike?

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi the leader of ISIS may be dead, or he might be alive, depending on who you read this morning.  And if he has been killed, reports differ on the manner of his much-deserved death.

We’ll start by assuming, as Reuters did yesterday, that he’s just on the run.

Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is on the brink of losing the two main centers of his 'caliphate' but even though he is on the run, it may take years to capture or kill him, officials and experts said.

Islamic State fighters are close to defeat in the twin capitals of the group's territory, Mosul in Iraq and Raqqa in Syria, and officials say Baghdadi is steering clear of both, hiding in thousands of square miles of desert between the two…

U.S. and Iraqi officials believe he has left operational commanders behind with diehard followers to fight the battles of Mosul and Raqqa, to focus on his own survival.

It is not possible to confirm his whereabouts.

Well, one way to confirm his whereabouts would be to find his body, although the dueling reports from two other sources which say he is dead also indicate he might not be recognizable.    First, from the World Tribune:

Islamic State (ISIS) leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was reported by Syrian media to have been killed on June 10 in a U.S.-lead coalition artillery strike.

Syrian state television said the terror group’s leader, the world’s most wanted terrorist, was killed in an artillery strike on the group’s headquarters in Raqqa. No confirmation of Baghdadi’s death has been issued by ISIS.

News of Baghdadi’s reported demise was met with widespread skepticism since similar reports have been proven false in the past, the Jerusalem Post reported. On at least two occasions over the last year, the ISIS leader was reportedly killed, only to show a sign of life in the form of a video or voice recording.

The skepticism is well rooted in the historical perspective, which is that he’s been “killed” numerous times, and other reports had him either paralyzed, comatose or both.   Meanwhile, fellow British publication Daily Mail claims it was an airstrike as opposed to artillery:

Syrian state television has claimed the world's most wanted terrorist Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has been killed in an airstrike, according to several reports.

At the very least, there is a reason provided by the Daily Mail that bolsters the skeptic position:

It would certainly be in the interests of the Assad regime to claim that the world's most wanted terrorist had been killed to provide it with a short -term propaganda victory.

And there is more in there to confuse the issue:

Syrian activists, Raqqa24, did report an airstrike in Raqqa killed at least seven civilians on Saturday, although there was no mention made of al-Baghdadi.

Video footage from airstrikes hitting Raqqa throughout the last week show white phosphorus munitions falling on to the city and setting buildings ablaze.  

Alive or dead, his days are numbered it would appear.  As Secretary of State Tillerson noted recently, 'Nearly all of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's deputies are now dead, including the mastermind behind the attacks in Brussels, Paris, and elsewhere. It is only a matter of time before Baghdadi himself meets the same fate.”

For now, it’s a bit hard to take Syrian news proclamations as a statement of fact without some other party confirming it.



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We been knocking off the so-called leaders for over a decade see no change

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News from the World of Military and Veterans Issues. Iraq and A-Stan in parenthesis reflects that the author is currently deployed to that theater.