Islamic State (ISIS) leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was reported by Syrian media to have been killed on June 10 in a U.S.-lead coalition artillery strike.
Syrian state television said the terror group’s leader, the world’s most wanted terrorist, was killed in an artillery strike on the group’s headquarters in Raqqa. No confirmation of Baghdadi’s death has been issued by ISIS.
News of Baghdadi’s reported demise was met with widespread skepticism since similar reports have been proven false in the past, according to media reports . On at least two occasions over the last year, the ISIS leader was reportedly killed, only to show a sign of life in the form of a video or voice recording.
Reports that Baghdadi had been killed emerged as Iraqi forces claimed that his deputy, Ayad al-Jumaili, had been killed in an airstrike near Iraq’s border with Syria.
According to AFP, citing official Iraqi documents, Baghdadi was born in Samarra in 1971. He later joined the Iraqi insurgency that arose after America’s invasion of the Middle Eastern country in 2003. Late last year, the U.S. announced it had increased its reward offer for Baghdadi’s head to $25 million.
The report of Baghdadi’s death comes amid a military push by U.S.-backed Syrian forces into Raqqa, the jihadist group’s last remaining stronghold in the region. The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a group of Kurdish and Arab militias supported by a U.S.-led coalition, began to attack Raqqa on June 6 after a months-long campaign to cut it off.
The U.S.-led coalition estimates that Raqqa is defended by 3,000 to 4,000 jihadists.