The Russian military is reporting that it may have killed the enigmatic leader of ISIS. The international terrorist group has risen as a world scourge under the captaincy of a religious leader named Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi. As the leader of ISIS, Al-Baghdadi declared himself to be the ruler of the global Islamic community. By declaring himself to be the “Caliph” or Pope of all Muslim’s worldwide, Al-Baghdadi was able to attract militant Islamic fighters from all over the world. The Russian Defense Ministry is reporting that on May 28, the Russian Air-force struck a gathering in the Syrian city of Raqqa, potentially killing the Islamic State leader. The Russian statement however, seems tentative suggesting that the Russians themselves may have doubts about the success of the strike. Sources suggest that the Russians may have been acting independently, without the coordination of the U.S. backed Kurdish forces on the ground. The Russians may have only learned about Baghdadi’s presence at the gathering after the strike. Their ability to confirm his death is therefore limited.
It is worth noting that this is not the first time that rumors have swirled about the death of Baghdadi. In 2015, the Iraqi Military hit a convoy ushering the Islamic State leader and reports of his demise were circulated. In January (2017), a U.S. led strike in northern Iraq’s Al-Ba’aj injured Baghdadi, leading to more reports of his death. After several brushes with death, coalition forces are once again hoping that the mastermind of the most destructive terrorist organization in history has finally met justice.