UPDATE 8 September 2014 – Death of ISIS leader denied by Iraqi and US sources, social media photos of his corpse are fake.
(IraqiNews.com) Thousands of social media users are distributing an unverified photo which claims to show the body of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi after he was purportedly killed by US air strikes after three senior members of ISIS, including an aide to al-Baghdadi were also killed by US air strikes. The death of the three senior members and aide to al-Baghdadi were confirmed by a senior Iraqi security official when interviewed by NBC News on Thursday.
The strike on the ISIS stronghold of Mosul killed Abu Hajar Al-Sufi, an aide to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, as well as an explosives operative and the military leader of nearby Tal Afar, the source said on condition of anonymity. Al Arabiya cited the Iraqi Defense Ministry saying Baghdadi’s aide had been killed.
Pentagon Spokesman Col. Steve Warren could not confirm the deaths and said ISIS leaders had not been targeted. But he added that if ISIS leaders were embedded “inside troop formations they are likely to be killed.” The U.S. has been carrying out airstrikes across north Iraq after the brutal terrorists of ISIS gained ground in a murderous sweep in June.
A number of news outlets and websites have published the unverified photo and news about the death of al-Baghdadi by US airstrikes. IraqiNews.com has been unable to verify the photo and claim that al-Baghdadi was killed.