A senior Iraqi security source inside the country's Nineveh province dismissed reports that the leader of Daesh, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, was dead, according to Russian news agency Sputnik.
A number of media outlets had cited the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a London-based NGO, as saying that Daesh asked militant leaders in Syria's Raqqa to choose a successor for Al-Baghdadi, indicating the latter's death. Raqqa is considered the group's de facto capital in Syria.
The source told Sputnik that the security forces' military reconnaissance aircraft recently spotted Al-Baghdadi's movements several times in the Hawi Al-Kanisa area near Mosul.
Backed by US air and ground support, the Iraqi army launched a military campaign in October to retake Mosul from Daesh. The militant group had seized control of the city, the second largest in Iraq, in June 2014.