Russian military officials are looking into whether ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, sometimes known as the “world’s most dangerous man,” was killed in an airstrike in late May. “According to information, which is being verified via different channels, the meeting was also attended by [leader] Ibrahim Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who was eliminated in the strike,” the Russian Defense Ministry initially reported, although Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov cautioned, “I don’t have a 100-percent confirmation of the information.”
Baghdadi has made only one on-camera appearance since being named a “Specially Designated Global Terrorist” by the Department of State (information that leads toward his capture includes a $25 million reward), and is known for keeping a low profile. He was captured by United States forces and arrested in 2004, but was freed as a “low-level prisoner” in 2009, and “within a year was the leader of Iraq’s al Qaeda affiliate, heading up a renewed campaign of bombings and assassinations.” Baghdadi has been a top target for Russia (and the United States) ever since, and he may have been eliminated in an “airstrike on May 28 [that] was carried out on the outskirts of the militant group’s de facto capital Raqqa, on a command post where ISIS leaders were meeting,” according to CNN. “The airstrike was carried out following drone footage confirmation of the council’s meeting location.”
U.S. officials are unable to confirm the reports.