Russian Federation claims it has killed IS leader al-Baghdadi

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"Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was also present at the meeting and was killed as a result of the strike", the ministry said.

Moscow said on Friday its forces may have killed Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in an air strike in Syria last month, but Washington said it could not corroborate the death and Western and Iraqi officials were sceptical.

In an email to The Associated Press, U.S. Army Col. Ryan Dillon said Friday that "we can not confirm these reports at this time".

"There are reports of his death it seems every other week", the official said, referring to past claims by the Moscow-backed Syrian regime of President Bashar Assad, whose state-controlled media began claiming last week that al-Baghdadi had been killed in an airstrike near ISIS' de facto headquarters in Raqqa, Syria.

FILE - This file image made from video posted on a militant website Saturday, July 5, 2014, purports to show the leader of the Islamic State group, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, delivering a sermon at a mosque in Iraq during his first public appearance. "If al-Baghdadi is dead-that's good; if not, Russian Federation still demonstrated that it is fighting against the ISIL and trying to make progress", Kozhanov adds, using another acronym for ISIS.

She noted that the Russians have said they are still investigating whether al-Baghdadi was actually at the meeting they bombed.

Reports of ISIS leader Baghdadi's death in the past have proven false and Russian forces in Syria have spent large stretches of their bombing campaign fighting opponents of the Syrian regime, away from ISIS-held land.

The Isis meeting in the southern edge of Raqqa, according to Russian officials, was due to discuss plans of delaying the enemy with the use of suicide bombers and IEDs (improvised explosive devices) while escape routes are organised for the leadership.

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Russian Federation informed the USA about the attack, the statement added.

On June 29, 2014, al-Baghdadi was proclaimed the caliph of Daesh, a "caliphate" created on the territories Daesh managed to seize in Syria and Iraq.

Previous reports of al-Baghdadi being killed turned out not to be true. The last time Baghdadi spoke out was in an audio released November 3, in which he urged followers to defend Mosul against an offensive launched the month before by the Iraqi armed forces and the us -led military coalition. There were also reports in May and June of this year that he had been badly wounded or killed.

Reports of al-Baghdadi's death regularly surface, but the statement Friday was the first time Russian Federation acknowledged that it may have killed him.

The Observatory said the dead included 10 Islamic State group members.

The US military had captured Baghdadi in Falluja, Iraq, in 2004. The U.S. has a $25 million bounty for information leading to his death or capture.

Syrian troops and allied militias advanced within miles of a strategic airbase controlled by USA -backed forces west of Raqqa city on Thursday, the United Kingdom-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported.

Baghdadi - whose real name is Ibrahim Awad Ibrahim - is thought to have been born in Samarra, north of Baghdad, in 1971.

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