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U.S. official can’t confirm al-Baghdadi killin

While it has yet to be confirmed, news is spreading about the possibility of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi being one of the casualties of a Russian airstrike last month.The Defense Ministry said the May 28 air raid that targeted an Islamic State meeting held on the southern outskirts of Raqqa, Syria, also killed about 30 midlevel militant leaders and about 300 other fighters.Russian Federation is trying to verify reports that its military has killed the leader of the Islamic State group in an air strike targeting a meeting of militant leaders.”Lately, Baghdadi has only been ISIS’ image, while the actual leadership of the organization in Syria and Iraq is in the hands of a 12-member council that plans and orders everything related to the group”, the founder of the Euphrates Post, Ahmad al-Ramadan, told Asharq Al-Awsat.Sporadic rumors have continued to mount that he was killed in a variety of US-led actions, but little evidence has surfaced to support those claims.There was no initial independent confirmation that Baghdadi had been killed.Based on disclosures by their unmanned aerial vehicles, the Russian troops in Syria carried out strikes on IS militants and thwarted the terrorist group’s planned sortie against the defence lines of the Syrian government forces in Deir ez-Zor, Xinhua cited a statement of the ministry on Saturday.The US-led coalition fighting ISIS said it could not confirm the Russian report that Baghdadi may have been killed.The United States was informed in advance about the place and time of the strike, the Russian military said. Several Iraqi security officials said Iraq was doubtful as well.If confirmed, his death would mark a major military success for Russian Federation, which has conducted a military campaign in support of Syrian President Bashar Assad since September 2015.He has made only one public appearance in recent years – in a video delivering a sermon in Mosul on 5 July 2014, shortly after IS captured the city.A character shrouded in mystery, Baghdadi’s real name may be Ibrahim Awwad Ibrahim al-Badri, and he may have been born in 1971 in Samarra, an ancient Iraqi city in the so-called Sunni Triangle north of Baghdad.A statement by the ministry said the information is being checked to verify the claims.Head of the Syrian agency for human rights, Rami Abdulrahman expressed doubt over the purported report that Baghdadi may have died in an airstrike. The U.S.is offering a $25 million reward for information leading to his death or capture.What does the online chatter say?The report of Baghdadis death comes in wake of the Islamic State suffering major setbacks in which they have lost wide areas of territory including both their strongholds — Mosul in Iraq and Syrias Raqqa.So far, there has been minimal reaction from online supporters of IS to news of the reported death of the group’s leader, it said.