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Iraq denies Daesh leader Baghdadi was killed

Image of Iraqi security forces [Reuters/Ahmed Saad]
Image of Iraqi security forces [Reuters/Ahmed Saad]

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.

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