Russia is claiming that an air strike in Syria may have killed Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in late May, Reuters reported Friday.
The Russian Defense Ministry said it was checking information that the air strike on May 28 near Raqqa, which targeted a meeting of IS leaders, may have killed Baghdadi, Reuters reported.
“According to the information which is now being checked via various channels, Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who was eliminated by the air strike, was also present at the meeting,” RIA news agency quoted the ministry as saying.
Baghdadi’s location has been unknown for some time, although he was believed to have been in Iraq in October 2016, the BBC reported.
His only public appearance was in a video in June 2014, when he delivered a sermon in Mosul after IS took over the Iraqi city, the BBC reported.
In an email to The Associated Press, U.S. Army Col. Ryan Dillon said Friday that “we cannot confirm these reports at this time.”