Coalition ‘would welcome’ al-Baghdadi death

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi
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. The Russian military claims it has killed the leader of the Islamic State group in an airstrike. The ministry said Friday, June 16, 2017, that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was killed in a Russian strike in late May along with other senior group commanders. (AP Photo/Militant video, File)

BEIRUT (AP) — The spokesman for the U.S.-led anti-Islamic State coalition is urging caution on reports that Islamic State group leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has been killed.

U.S. Army Col. Ryan Dillon said Friday morning that, “There have been several past claims of this kind that have been proven false and we have seen no definitive proof that this report is true either.”

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However Dillon added, “the Coalition and the global community would welcome the news of al-Baghdadi’s demise.”

Regardless of al-Baghdadi’s personal status, Dillon said that the Islamic State group is “a losing organization” that would soon lose its control of its last two major urban strongholds — the Iraqi city of Mosul and the Syrian city of Raqqa.

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