Islamic State’s caliph al-Baghdadi reported dead yet again
Robert Spencer | Jihad Watch – The Islamic State’s caliph has been reported dead. But he has been dead before:
Several months later, after widespread reports that he had been killed in an airstrike: Islamic State caliph undead, calls for “volcanoes of jihad” November 13, 2014
Is the Islamic State’s caliph al-Baghdadi dead (again)? June 17, 2016
Is he really dead this time? Maybe. This time the information seems more precise and the likelihood greater.
Al-Baghdadi’s situation is odd in any case, whatever his condition: he claims to be the caliph, the source and summit of the appeal that the Islamic State has among young Muslims, and yet aside from his inaugural appearance when the Islamic State declared itself the caliphate on June 29, 2014, he has scarcely been in evidence, with the only signs of his existence being a couple of audiotapes. Also, he is or was a caliph without a caliphate: the Islamic State is still very much a presence around the world, but doesn’t control any significant expanse of territory, as it did when Obama was President.
This caliph without a caliphate’s elusiveness was a function of his having a large bounty on his head, but it also may have been chosen as a strategy for other reasons: the Islamic State leadership may have decided that his power was enhanced by his being more mythical than real — an omnipresent but gnomic presence a la Big Brother in Orwell’s 1984.
From a practical standpoint, since he has been so rarely seen or heard from in recent years, it hardly matters whether he is dead or alive: obviously the Islamic State has soldiered on without his having become a familiar media figure. And it likely will continue to do so.
“Isil leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi reportedly killed in US forces raid,” by Josie Ensor, Telegraph, October 27, 2019:
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State, is reported to have died following a US military raid in north-west Syria.
Baghdadi, whose real name is Ibrahim Awwad Ibrahim Ali Muhammad al-Badri al-Samarrai, is thought to have killed himself with a suicide vest as US special operations forces descended, according to media citing multiple government sources.
He was with two wives, who are also thought to have blown themselves up, and children which are believed to still be alive.
The raid, which began after midnight, targeted a compound Baghdadi and his family were thought to have been living in in Barisha village in Idlib province near the Turkish border….
Intelligence was recovered by US special forces soldiers before the compound was then hit by an air strike to prevent the building from becoming a shrine to the terror leader….
President Donald Trump gave an indication that something was afoot earlier on Saturday night when he tweeted without explanation: “Something very big has just happened!”
The White House announced Mr Trump would make a “major statement” on Sunday at 1pm GMT, without elaborating.
A Pentagon official said he was “dead” pending verification. It is understood that the US was currently carrying out biometric work to formally identify those killed in the raid.
Iraq said it had helped provide intelligence that lead to the raid, and broadcast footage of what appeared to be a crater in the ground and torn blood-stained clothes nearby….
His presence in Idlib, the last-remaining anti-Assad opposition stronghold, will come as a surprise to some as the province is under the control of rebel groups hostile to Isil….
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