Islamic State leader Baghdadi almost certainly alive: Kurdish security official

Published: July 17, 2017
 Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. PHOTO: AFP

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. PHOTO: AFP

SULAYMANIYAH: A top Kurdish counter-terrorism official said on Monday he was 99 per cent sure that Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was alive and located south of the Syrian city of Raqqa, after reports that he had been killed.

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“Baghdadi is definitely alive. He is not dead. We have information that he is alive. We believe 99 per cent he is alive,” Lahur Talabany told Reuters in an interview. “Don’t forget his roots go back to al Qaeda days in Iraq. He was hiding from security services. He knows what he is doing.”

Iraqi security forces have ended three years of Islamic State rule in the Iraqi city of Mosul, and the group is under growing pressure in Raqqa – both strongholds in the militants’ crumbling self-proclaimed caliphate.

Islamic State chief Baghdadi killed: Syrian Observatory

Still, Talabany said Islamic State was shifting tactics despite low morale and it would take three or four years to eliminate the group. After defeat, Islamic State would wage an insurgency and resemble al-Qaeda on ‘steroids’, he said.

The future leaders of Islamic State were expected to be intelligence officers who served under former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, the men credited with devising the group’s strategy.

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Reader Comments (3)

  • Faisal
    Jul 17, 2017 - 6:35PM

    He’ll “die” when the West or Russia want him to – as long as either side was to stay in the Middle East, “he’s live”! Recommend

  • Jp
    Jul 17, 2017 - 11:36PM

    Any way he will die at any cost. He is hiding like WOMEN. no guts with him like a MAN!!!Recommend

  • Faisal
    Jul 18, 2017 - 1:00PM

    I hope he is already dead in the Russian strike. I think the Kurds are just saying he is “alive” so that US keeps giving them arms. Its a mess out there. But ISIS will soon be wiped out and men, women and children will be safe from these animals. Recommend

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