Pentagon Downplays Claim Islamic State Leader Baghdadi Killed in U.S. Airstrike

TEL AVIV – According to an unconfirmed report in the respected Turkish daily Yenis Safak newspaper, Islamic State Leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has been killed in a US air strike in Raqqa.

In response to the claim, Pentagon spokesperson Adrian J.T. Rankine-Galloway told Breitbart Jerusalem, “At this time, we have no information that would confirm those reports.”

Baghdadi has been reported injured or killed several times in the recent past.  Just this past Friday, an Iraqi TV channel claimed that Baghdadi had been wounded in a coalition air strike in northern Iraq.

Following Friday’s report of Baghdadi being injured, Brett McGurk, the U.S. envoy to the coalition, told reporters the U.S. had no reason to believe Baghdadi was dead “even though we haven’t heard of him since late last year.”

“We presume that he’s still alive,” McGurk added on Friday. “It’s really a matter of time for him.”

On Monday, CNN reported the U.S. believes Baghdadi is constantly on the move, according to “nearly half a dozen U.S. officials” who work “across several government departments.”

The CNN report continued:

 While it’s still possible that the U.S.’s most wanted man continues to be hunkered down inside the self-declared ISIS capitol of Raqqa, Syria, a more recent analysis potentially puts Baghdadi in constant motion as he attempts to avoid being killed or captured by anti-ISIS coalition forces.

U.S. officials agree on two initial points. First, they don’t know exactly where he is, and if they did, they would attack his location either from the ground or air if they could.

Second, Baghdadi is practicing, in the words of one official, “extraordinary operational security” to keep his location secret.

Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.


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