Russia said today that it was now "verifying" through various channels the fate of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the chief of the Islamic State terror group, almost a week after the Russian military said it may have killed him in an airstrike in Syria.
"I think this information is close to 100 percent", the agency quoted Ozerov as saying.
Last Friday, the Russian Defense Ministry reported that Baghdadi had been presumably killed by the airstrike on Raqqa's southern suburbs carried out by Russian warplanes.
"Senior commanders of the military groups of the so-called IS military council, 30 mid-ranking field commanders and up to 300 militants who provided security for them were eliminated", it said.
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Russian Federation condemned the USA latest strike against a Syrian aircraft, calling it a "flagrant violation of worldwide law". Moscow has accused the United States of not using the hotline to prevent the Raqqa incident.
Ozerov, however, said that the Russian Defence Ministry would not have released the information about Baghdadi's death if it had not believed it to be true.
On Thursday, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Oleg Syromolotov told Sputnik it was "highly likely" Baghdadi was killed in Russian airstrikes on Daesh targets last month.
Since the American-led bombing campaign against the Islamic State began in August 2014, reports of Mr. Baghdadi's death have repeatedly surfaced.
However, the USA hasn't corroborated his death and the IS has not released any statement on Baghdadi.
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Baghdadi, the Defense Department has no concrete evidence of whether he is still alive, Col. Ryan Dillon, a spokesman for the American-led coalition that is fighting the Islamic State, told reporters on Friday from Baghdad.
In March, senior United States and Iraqi officials said Baghdadi had fled the Iraqi city of Mosul and was hiding out in the desert near the Syrian border.
The ISIS terror group is known for imposing a hard-line form of Islam that has included stonings, amputations and beheadings.
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