Islamic State of Iraq and Syria leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has reportedly been killed.
via CBS News:
“A London-based monitoring group with a solid history of accurately reporting incidents from inside war-torn Syria said Tuesday that it had been able to confirm the death of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.”
According to the director of the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a “1st tier and two 2nd tier ISIS commanders from Deir Ezzor” confirmed al-Baghdadi’s death. Reports from al-Jazeera indicate that “al-BBaghdadiwas present in eastern parts of Deir az Zor province” in recent months, but it was unclear if he died in the area or elsewhere.
al-Baghdadi was the leader of the Sunni Salafi jihadist militant jihadist organization known as ISIS, which controls territory in several countries. ISIS has been designated a terrorist organization by the United Nations, as well as by the European Union and many individual states.
On June 16, Russian officials claimed there was a “high degree of probability” al-Baghdadi had been killed in a Russian airstrike in Raqqa, Syria. Despite this, U.S. and Iraqi officials doubted Moscow’s claims, saying they had no evidence to suggest al-Baghdadi was dead.
A spokesman for the U.S.-led anti-ISIS coalition told CBS that they “cannot confirm this report” but that they “hope it is true.” Furthermore, the statement said that they “strongly advise ISIS to implement a strong line of succession, it will be needed.”
About Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi
On 4 October 2011, the U.S. State Department added al-Baghdadi to the Specially Designated Nationals List and announced a reward of up to $10 million for information or intelligence leading to his capture or death. On December 16,2016, the reward was to $25 million.
Authorities within the United States have also accused al-Baghdadi of kidnapping, enslaving, and repeatedly raping an American citizen, Kayla Mueller, who ISIL later falsely alleged was killed in a Jordanian air strike.
In 2014, reports said that al-Baghdadi has a doctorate for Islamic studies in Quranic studies, from Saddam University in Baghdad. According to a biography that circulated on extremist forums in July 2013, al-Baghdadi obtained a BA, MA, and PhD in Islamic studies from the Islamic University of Baghdad.Another report says that he earned a doctorate in education from the University of Baghdad.