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FILE - 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. (AP Photo/Militant video, File)

The Syrian Observatory said it has ‘confirmed information’ the ISIS leader is dead


The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says it has “confirmed information” that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), is dead.

“[We have] confirmed information from leaders, including one of the first rank who is Syrian, in the Islamic State in the eastern countryside of Deir al-Zor,” Rami Abdulrahman, the group’s director, said Tuesday, according to Reuters.

Abdulrahman said activists working with him in Deir al-Zor, Syria had been told by ISIS sources that al-Baghdadi had died, but not when or how.

The sources reportedly told the Syrian Observatory, which is a war monitoring group based in the U.K., that al-Baghdadi had been present in the Syrian province within the last three months.

Twitter users on Tuesday debated whether al-Baghdadi had died, a claim which Reuters could not independently verify.

Army Colonel Ryan Dillon, spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition fighting ISIS, on Tuesday in Iraq he could not confirm al-Baghdadi’s death.

The Pentagon also told Reuters it had no information to corroborate al-Baghdadi’s reported demise, and Iraqi and Kurdish officials had no immediate verification.

Tuesday’s report comes one day Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said U.S.-led coalition and Iraqi forces had retaken all of Mosul, Iraq from ISIS.

ISIS forces overran Mosul nearly three years ago, making the northern city its main stronghold in Iraq.

Russia’s Defense Ministry reportedly said last month it had killed al-Baghdadi in an airstrike near Raqqa, Syria.

Al-Baghdadi’s death has been reported on several other occasions, but the terrorist leader has so far remained a threat.

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