Mercoledì, 24 Aprile, 2019

United Nations unable to confirm death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi

Donald Trump U.S. President Donald Trump signs an executive order at the White House in Washington
Parmenio Sano | 18 Giugno, 2017, 01:05

Islamic State fighters are close to defeat in the twin capitals of the group's territory, Mosul in Iraq and Raqqa in Syria, after almost three years ruling over millions of people in a wide area in both countries.

As the militants' foothold erodes, US officials and Syrian activists say many commanders have fled Mosul and Raqqa in recent months for Mayadeen, a remote town in the heart of Syria's Islamic State-controlled, Euphrates River valley near the Iraqi border.

He clarified, "So far, I have no 100 percent confirmation of the information that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has been killed".

The Russian Defense Ministry said al-Baghdadi was killed in a Russian strike in late May along with other senior group commanders.

The Russian defense ministry said on Saturday it had killed two Islamic State field commanders, named as Abu Omar al-Beljiki and Abu Yassin al-Masri, in air strikes near the eastern Syrian city of Deir al-Zor, Interfax news agency reported.

In a statement released Friday evening on government-run websites and television, Cuban President Raul Castro's administration said Trump's speech was "loaded with hostile rhetoric that recalls the times of open confrontation".

It said it had informed Washington of the May 28 strike near the extremists' Syria stronghold of Raqqa, which is now under assault by US-backed fighters.

IS normally does not rush to confirm the death of leadership figures, and would belatedly and sometimes indirectly announce them in general messages or by naming military campaigns after the deceased leader.

Who is Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi?

Al-Baghdadi is a nom de guerre for a man identified as Ibrahim Awwad Ibrahim Ali al-Badri al-Samarrai.

He also demanded that Havana return such US fugitives as Joanne Chesimard, who eventually escaped after being convicted of the 1973 killing of a New Jersey state trooper, and three Cuban spies who were found guilty in a plot that led to the fatal shooting down of American pilots in 1996. At the time, he was considered a low-level al Qaeda member.

Baghdadi, he said, was believed to be operating cautiously in the border area between Iraq and Syria with just a handful of close aides, and avoiding using telecommunications equipment to evade surveillance.

The leaders were discussing their exit from the city through the so-called southern corridor, the ministry said.

Overall, however, Trump's action reverses only some of Obama's Cuba policies - and by restricting to the island, the president's move risks cutting off ending a major source of income for Havana's private business sector.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which tracks Syria's war, said airstrikes on the road linked the villages of Ratla and Kasrat killed 18 people, while the activist-operated group Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently said 17 civilians were killed in the airstrike on buses carrying civilians.

Information for this article was contributed by Bassem Mroue, Lolita C. Baldor and Robert Burns of The Associated Press.


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