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FILE - This file image made from video posted on a militant website Saturday, July 5, 2014, purports to show the leader of the Islamic State group, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, delivering a sermon at a mosque in Iraq during his first public appearance. Al-Baghdadi released a new message late on Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2016, encouraging his followers to keep up the fight for the city of Mosul, which they are defending against Iraqi government forces, the SITE Intelligence Group, a U.S. organization that monitors militant activity online said Thursday. (Militant video via AP, File)

Russia claims it may have killed top ISIS leader in an airstrike in Syria


Russia's Defense Ministry said Friday it is investigating reports that ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was killed in one of its airstrikes in Syria last month.

The Russian Defense Ministry said Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was killed in a Russian strike in late May along with other senior group commanders.

There had been previous reports of al-Baghdadi being killed but they did not turn out to be true. 

"According to information, which is being verified via different channels, the meeting was also attended by the (ISIS) leader Ibrahim Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who was eliminated in the strike," the ministry said, according to the TASS report in English.

TASS also reported that more than 300 "terrorists" were killed in the strike.

"We cannot confirm these reports at this time," Colonel Ryan Dillon, spokesman for Combined Joint Task Force - Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTFOIR), said in a statement to AP.

--The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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