Pentagon Chief Says He Thinks Daesh Leader Al-Baghdadi Is Alive
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - Pentagon chief James Mattis said that he believes Daesh (also known as ISIL or ISIS) chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is still alive, following various claims he was dead.
“I think Baghdadi’s alive … and I’ll believe otherwise when we know we’ve killed him,” Mattis told Pentagon reporters on Friday.
“We are going after him, but we assume he is alive.”
There have been persistent rumors that al-Baghdadi has died in recent months, AFP reported.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a longtime conflict monitor, last week said it had heard from senior Daesh leaders in Syria’s Deir Ezzor province that al-Baghdadi was dead.
Russia’s army said in mid-June that it was seeking to verify whether it had killed the ISIL chief in a May airstrike in Syria.
With a $25 million US bounty on his head, al-Baghdadi has kept a low profile but was rumored to move regularly throughout ISIL-held territory in Iraq and Syria.
The Iraqi native has not been seen since making his only known public appearance as “caliph” in 2014 at the Grand Mosque of Al-Nuri in Mosul, which was destroyed in the battle for Iraq’s second city.