US Army Lieutenant General Stephen Townsend, the commander of the coalition in Iraq, spoke from his headquarters in Baghdad via video link to reporters in the Pentagon and stated that the Islamic State (ISIS) leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is most likely still alive.
“Do I believe he’s alive? Yes,” Townsend told reporters. “I’ve seen no convincing evidence, intelligence, or open-source or other rumor or otherwise that he’s dead … There are also some indicators in intelligence channels that he’s still alive.”
This contradicts an announcement Russia made in June when they said there was a “high probability” al-Baghdadi was killed when one of their airstrikes hit a gathering of ISIS commanders on the outskirts of the Syrian city of Raqqa one month earlier.
“We’re looking for him every day. I don’t think he’s dead,” said Townsend. “When we find him, I think we’ll just try to kill him first. It’s probably not worth all the trouble to try and capture him.”
Despite a $25 million bounty on his head, Iraq-born Baghdadi has proved incredibly difficult to eliminate. Little is known about him and his name literally means ‘from Baghdad’. He was captured and held prisoner in a US Army prison in Iraq for ten months before being released as a ‘low level prisoner’. He has rarely been photographed or videoed. He has bee reported dead or injured multiple times.
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Source: Israel in the News