The Russian government said its Air Force had likely killed the Islamic State (ISIS) leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in a bombing on May 28, 2017 near Raqqa (Syria). Iraqi news agency al-Sumaria News wrote that “Daesh organization (ISIS) circulated a brief statement through its media in the (ISIS-held) town of Tal Afar in the west of Mosul (Iraq), confirming the killing of its leader al-Baghdadi without giving further details.”
The news report came a day after Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi formally declared Mosul – Iraq’s second largest city – liberated from ISIS after nearly nine months of fierce military fight. According to local intelligence, a purge of close al-Baghdadi supporters inside ISIS could be underway in west of Mosul’s Tal Afar, led by people who’d seek to take over the organization.
Such information has yet to be confirmed by western sources. On July 17, 2017, Iraqi intelligences source and Al-Arabiya TV channel said Baghdadi is alive and hiding in Syria.