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MOSCOW, July 16. /TASS/. Leader of the Islamic State terror group (outlawed in Russia) Abu Bakr al-Baghdidi is alive and and is hiding in Syria, Al Arabiya television channel said on Sunday, citing director of Iraqi interior ministry’s intelligence and counter-terrorism operations service, Abu Ali al-Basri.
According to Al Arabiya, al-Basri refuted reports about al-Baghdadi’s death, saying he is still hiding in Syria, but not in the province of Raqqa, the Islamic States’ stronghold.
Al Sumaria television channel said on July 11 citing a source in Iraq’s Nineveh province that Islamic State militants had reported the death of their leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. According to the television channel, Islamic State issued a brief statement on al-Baghdadi’s death where they said the name of a "new caliph" would be announced soon.
Earlier, Iranian mass media circulated photos confirming al-Baghdadi’s death. Russia’s defense ministry reported in mid-June that al-Baghdadi and 300 more Islamic State militants had been presumably killed in a Russian airstrike on Raqqa’s southern suburb.
On July 14, US Defense Secretary James Mattis said the US side could not confirm al-Baghdadi’s death.