By AFP – Jun 19,2017 – JORDAN TIMES
This image grab taken from a propaganda video released on July 5, 2014 by Al Furqan Media allegedly shows the leader of the Daesh group, Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi, addressing Muslim worshippers at a mosque in the militant-held northern Iraqi city of Mosul (AFP photo)
BAGHDAD — Discreet in his youth and invisible as the world’s most wanted man, Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi rose through the ranks quietly and patiently to become global extremism’s undisputed supremo.
The Russian army said Friday that Baghdadi may have been killed in a May 28 air strike near the extremists’ Syria stronghold of Raqqa, although there was no immediate confirmation from his Daesh terror group or the US-led coalition battling the extremist organisation in Syria and Iraq.
The 46-year-old Iraqi-born leader of the Daesh, nicknamed “The Ghost”, has not been seen in public since he proclaimed himself “caliph” in the Iraqi city of Mosul three years ago.
The fortunes of his “caliphate” have since turned — with massive simultaneous offensives by allied forces against both Mosul and Raqqa.
The world’s most-wanted man has been rumoured wounded or killed a number of times in the past.
The last sign of life he gave was in November last year after Iraqi forces supported by the aerial might of the coalition launched their reconquest of Mosul, the country’s second city.
In an audio recording, he urged his men to defend Mosul to the bitter end and Iraqi elite forces have gained huge ground but are still battling die-hard extremists around the Old City.
Baghdadi was said to have left Mosul earlier this year and has since been reportedly spotted in various areas near the Syrian-Iraqi border.
But his whereabouts were never confirmed.