Russia’s Defense Ministry says its airstrike may have killed Daesh leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in the Syrian city of Raqqah.
In a statement released on Friday, the ministry said it was seeking confirmation that the Takfiri leader was killed in its airstrike in the Syrian city of Raqqah in May.
The airstrike, carried out on May 28, targeted a meeting of Daesh leaders including Baghdadi whose real name is Ibrahim al-Samarrai.
“According to the information which is now being checked via various channels, Daesh leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who was eliminated by the airstrike, was also present at the meeting,” it said.
According to the Russian Defense Ministry, the airstrike killed 330 Daesh members, including 30 top leaders, who had gathered to discuss withdrawal from Raqqah, the terrorist group’s de facto capital.
It said the military began planning the attack after getting information that Daesh leaders were going to gather for a meeting, sending drones to monitor the area. It then dispatched a group of Su-34 bombers and Su-35 fighter jets which hit the gathering.
The ministry said that among other Takfiri militants killed in the raid were Daesh leaders Abu al-Khadji al-Mysri, Ibrahim al-Naef al-Khadj and Suleiman al-Shauah.
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Russia does not have 100% confirmation that Baghdadi was killed in the airstrike.
Baghdadi has not been seen in public since proclaiming himself “caliph” in the Iraqi city of Mosul three years ago. His group has earned global notoriety for the most horrible crimes, including beheadings.
The Iraqi-born most-wanted man has been rumored wounded or killed a number of times in the past.
The Russian military said the US was informed in advance about the place and time of the strike. The US said it could not confirm the Russian report that Baghdadi may have been killed.