The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a respected monitoring group based in the U.K., claims that it has “confirmed information” that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS, has been killed. Reports of al Baghdadi’s death have circulated numerous times without confirmation. Iraqi, Kurdish, and U.S. officials all said they could not confirm the Syrian Observatory’s claim. Rami Abdulrahman, the director of the monitoring group, told Reuters: “[We have] confirmed information from leaders, including one of the first rank, in the Islamic State in the eastern countryside of Deir al-Zor.”
However, U.S. military authorities declined to confirm the self-proclaimed caliph is dead. “That is not our report,” Col. John Thomas, a spokesman for U.S. Central Command. “We have seen several such reports over the months.” Official ISIS channels on the instant-messaging platform Telegram have not confirmed Baghdadi’s death.