URGENT: Death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi denied by Iraqi, US sources

( According to the Iraqi newspaper al-Sabah, ISIS leader and self-proclaimed Caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi remains alive though he was severely injured as a result of recent US airstrikes near Tal Afar and Sinjar.

“This is the second time al-Baghdadi has been injured in the past two months and right now he is being treated in a Syrian location close to the Iraqi border,” a source told al-Sabah.

On Wednesday when numerous sources, including Iraqi, Turkish and Kurdish news media, Kurdish intelligence officials and former Iraqi army officers had claimed that al-Baghdadi had died somewhere in Syria after being wounded in a recent airstrike, the US Department of Defense did not confirm the death. Later that day thousands of social media users shared an unverified photo claiming to be the ISIS leader’s body as reported by on Saturday.

Several sources confirmed to that the image of al-Baghdadi’s body was derived from a corpse photo of Sami Abdullahu, an ISIS fighter who died in Syria. Sami Abdullahu, or Abu Khalid al Albani as he was known in Syria, was an Albanian from Skojpe, Macedonia.

Sami Abdullahu, an ISIS fighter who died in Syria.
Sami Abdullahu, an ISIS fighter who died in Syria.

When the photo of Sami Abdullahu’s corpse is compared to the widely disseminated image of al-Baghdadi’s body, it is an apparent fake:

Sami Abdullahu-Abu-Bakr-Al-Baghdadi


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