08:06 GMT25 May 2020
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    US Secretary of Defense James Mattis said on Friday he believes Daesh (banned in Russia) terror group leader Abu Bakr Baghdadi is still alive.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — "I think Baghdadi's alive…I think that he is alive, and I'll believe otherwise when we know we've killed him," Mattis said as quoted by Washington Examiner.

    Last Friday, Mattis said he could not confirm or deny reports that Baghdadi was dead, but National Counterterrorism Center Director Nick Rasmussen said earlier Friday that he had no indications the terror leader was dead.

    On June 16, the Russian Defense Ministry said Baghdadi was likely killed in a Russian Aerospace Forces strike on a militant command post in the southern suburb of the city of Raqqa in late May. The ministry noted it was in the process of confirming the information through various channels.

    Baghdadi has been reported killed multiple times since he first came to public attention in June 2014 when he declared the terror group’s so-called caliphate.

    Related:

    Russian Security Services Verifying Whether Daesh Leader al-Baghdadi Still Alive
    Iraqi Interior Ministry Says Daesh Leader Baghdadi Likely Still Alive
    Mattis Says Unable to Confirm or Deny Death of Daesh Leader Baghdadi
    Tags:
    Daesh, James Mattis, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, United States
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