U.S. military officials say they have no information to confirm or deny a report Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghadi has been killed in an airstrike.
Independent experts are expressing skepticism about the fast-spreading claims of the terrorist leader’s death, which reportedly was broadcast late Saturday on Syrian state television. However the British Broadcasting Corporation's monitoring service said Sunday it had detected no such report on either state television or Syria's state news agency, SANA.
A spokesperson on weekend duty at the U.S. Defense Department told VOA she had received queries about the reports but had no information to confirm or deny it.
Air raids on Raqqa
The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has confirmed intense air raids on Raqqa, where anti-IS forces began a major offensive last week. Reports from the region say the Amaq news agency, which is publicly identified with Islamic State, showed video of a body purported to be that of al-Baghdadi.
However, the British newspaper The Scotsman cited a tweet by terrorism analyst Michael Smith saying he has viewed the video and does not believe the body to be that of al-Baghdadi.
Multiple previous claims that the IS leader had been killed have proven to be false.