Daesh confirmed the death of group leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi within the Iraqi province of Nineveh, as reported by Al Sumaria TV channel.
According to the source, Daesh militants made a brief statement about the death of Baghdad and the announcement of the 'new caliphate'. The statements were made in the town of Tel Afar in the west of Mosul. Following the killing of the Baghdadi, the assistants of Baghdadi, who served in Iraq during the reign of former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein, are being considered as the most likely candidates.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor said yesterday it had information from top Daesh leaders confirming the death of the Baghdadi.
The secretive Daesh leader has frequently been reported killed or wounded since he declared a caliphate to rule over all Muslims in 2014. However, this appears to be the first time Daesh confirmed the death of its leader.
Mosul was the largest city in the "caliphate" proclaimed by Daesh and its loss is a huge blow to the militants' statehood experiment -- but not a fatal one. The northern Iraqi city was where Daesh leader Baghdadi made his only known public appearance in July 2014, announcing himself to the world as "caliph" during a Friday sermon at a mosque in the Old City.
Lately, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamanei's representative to the Revolutionary Guards - Quds Force, Ali Shirazi confirmed in an interview to Iranian website Asr-e Iran that Baghdadi died in Russian airstrikes. Russia said on June 17 its forces might have killed Baghdadi in an air strike in Syria. Washington said it had no information to corroborate such reports. Iraqi officials have also been skeptical in recent weeks.
Baghdadi, who has a $25-million bounty on his head, has managed to evade being killed or captured by the U.S.-led anti-Daesh coalition throughout its more than two-year campaign in Iraq and Syria.
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