There have been reports spreading across social media that the leader of so-called Islamic State has been killed, but similar claims have been wrong before.
The news stems from Syrian state television which has claimed the world’s most wanted terrorist is dead following an airstrike.
However, the leader of Daesh has been reported dead on multiple occasions in the past and the latest news has been met with skepticism by many experts.
According to News.com.au, the ISIS “stronghold of Raqqa was bombed heavily overnight on Saturday, local time, with the terrorist group’s Amaq news agency revealing the damage.” The unverified reports allege that Al-Baghdadi was killed in Raqqa.
Terrorism analyst Michael Smith, who watched the Amaq video which shows a dead body said to be Baghdadi, tweeted; “It’s being reported Baghdadi was killed in Raqqa and an Amaq video released today provides evidence.
“Frankly, I don’t think this is Baghdadi.”
In March, the Pentagon had to tell media outlets that Baghdadi was still alive despite reports of a crippled ISIS leadership on the battlefield and chaos within the hate group’s ranks. That same month, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson pledged that it was only a “matter of time” before the ISIS leader was killed.
“Nearly all of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s deputies are now dead, including the mastermind behind the attacks in Brussels, Paris, and elsewhere. It is only a matter of time before Baghdadi himself meets the same fate,” Mr Tillerson said.
In April 2017, it was also reported that Al-Baghdadi had been wounded after reports that U.S. helicopters had landed in ISIS territory in a bid to “assassinate” the ISIS leader.
The US and UK governments have yet to confirm Baghdadi’s death so any claims should be taken with a pinch of salt for now.