Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State, was pronounced dead by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. This information was provided by the leaders of the Islamic State.

AY-COLLECTION / SIPA

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirmed Tuesday that the death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State, is reporting to Reuters. The non-governmental organization says it has “confirmed information” that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the 45-year-old war name of Iraqi Ibrahim al-Samarrai, died in late May during an air strike.

According to Rami Abdulrahman, leader of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, this information was provided by the leaders of the Islamic State, including one of the most important of the terrorist group, from the eastern part of Deir al-Zor in Syria. In June of this year, the Russian Defense Ministry had already claimed to have killed Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi during an air raid on the city of Raqqa, but the United States never confirmed this information. The Observatory says the statement sent by the Islamic State does not specify when or under what circumstances al-Baghdadi died.

The media affiliated with the Islamic state still have no confirmation of the death of the leader. Nor has there been any confirmation by the US defense ministry or official Iraqi or Kurdish sources.

The “peaceful boy” who led the largest terrorist group today

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is the soldier of Ibrahim al-Samarrai, a 45-year-old Iraqi from Samarra. Those who lived with him as a young man describe him as an “ashamed” boy, a devout religious and a “man who avoided violence.” He lived in a small house next to a mosque for over ten years and was “an ecclesiastic.” Everything came to change when, in 2003, the United States invaded Iraq. Al-Baghdadi fled to Falluja, but was captured in 2004.

A doctorate in Islamic Studies from Saddam University in Baghdad, al-Baghdadi is described by college colleagues as a quiet man who liked to be isolated and spent much time alone. While attending university, al-Baghdadi was “insignificant. He used to lead the prayers at a mosque near my area. No one noticed him, “describes one of his former university colleagues.

Al-Baghdadi took over the leadership of the Islamic State in May 2010 after the death of Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, but has only been considered a terrorist since October 4, 2011: information on his whereabouts was at that time worth 7.3 million Of euros. Now the value had already risen to 22 million euros. As leader of the Islamic state, al-Baghdadi was discreet: rarely showed his face or heard his voice, which earned him the nickname “invisible sheik.”

As a combatant, however, al-Baghdadi is described as relentless, rigorous and methodical. But it was not always so. Al-Baghdadi was already a jihadist militant in Saddam Hussein’s day, although some sources say he radicalized while in an American camp in southern Iraq, where he lived with members of al-Qaeda. He was eventually released in 2008 for being considered a “minor threat”. A year later I was in one of the highest positions of al-Qaeda.

Al-Baghdadi has already been shot down six times. Two years ago, in March, an aerial bombardment seriously wounded the leader of the Islamic state, forcing the group to rally and vow to avenge the wounds inflicted on al-Baghdadi. In October 2015, the Iraqi Air Force declared its death but al-Baghdadi survived: it was not even at the bombing site. By June 9 and June 12, news reports said al-Baghdadi had died, but the United States never confirmed the information. That same year, al-Baghdadi and three other leaders of the Islamic state were poisoned, but they also survived. Confirming al-Baghdadi’s death by the Russian Defense, it occurred on May 28 during an air strike.

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