Global News

Led coalition says Islamic State convoy remains in Syrian desert

Led coalition says Islamic State convoy remains in Syrian desert

A senior U.S. general has said that the leader of the Islamic State group, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, is still alive but the coalition does not "have a clue" about where he is.

With a $25 million United States bounty on his head, Iraq-born Baghdadi has successfully avoided an intense effort to seek him out for six years or more.

However, Townsend said: "I've seen no convincing evidence, intelligence, or open-source or other rumour or otherwise that he's dead ..."

Townsend emphasized he was speaking personally but noted that "some indicators in intelligence" indicate Baghdadi remains alive along with no specific intelligence that he had been killed. There have been reports of him being dead or injured, but only one account, that he was temporarily incapacitated after a strike in March 2015, is thought to have much... "I don't think he's dead".

In June, Russian forces said they might have killed the ISIS leader during a May airstrike.

That's what Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend told reporters on Thursday in a press briefing.

"When we find him, I think we'll just try to kill him first".

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The IS militants, who swept into Iraq in 2014 against minimal resistance from the Iraqi army, still control a large area of eastern Syria along the border with Iraq, as well as parts of Raqqa, the capital of the group's self-styled caliphate.

Assessing his 12 months in command of the USA -led coalition, Townsend said more tough fighting remains but signs are positive.

There have been several previous reports of Baghdadi's death. "We say to the Islamic State fighters: wherever you are, we are coming for you, and you have no choice but to surrender or die".

"The current administration has pushed decision-making down into the military chain of command", Townsend said.

"We're looking for him every day".

"A key result of that is that we don't get second-guessed a lot", he added.


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