Doubts about the death of the leader of the armed Islamic group (IS) is still hanging in the air. After confirmation of his death by the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights (OSDH) last week, the Kurdish intelligence chief now claims that Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi is alive.
Iraqi Kurdistan’s chief of counter-terrorism services, Lahour Talabani, said Monday that he believes the self-proclaimed “Caliph” of the Islamic state is still alive and that he is south of Raqqa in Syria.
“There is no doubt that Baghdadi is alive. We are 99% sure,” Talabani said.
“Do not forget that he is from al-Qaeda in Iraq. He escaped the security services. He knows what he is doing,” he added.
The Iraqi army recently succeeded in dislodging the jihadists from Mosul, northern Iraq, after three years of occupation.
Rumors of the death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi have been circulating since 2014, without ever being confirmed.
He gave a sign of life for the last time in November in an audio recording, broadcast shortly after the launch of the offensive on Mosul, in which he exhorted his men to fight until martyrdom.
Born in 1971 in a poor family in the Baghdad region, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi – born Ibrahim Awad Al-Badri – was a football fan. He failed in his attempt to become a lawyer and military before turning to theology. He founded a small group of jihadists in the aftermath of the US invasion of Iraq in 2003.