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Iraqi intelligence official states Daesh leader still alive

IRAQI INTELLIGENCE OFFICIAL STATES DAESH LEADER STILL ALIVE

An Iraqi intelligence officer said Sunday that Daesh leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was still alive.

Last month, the Russian Defense Ministry media said that al-Baghdadi was believed to have been killed in an airstrike in Syria.

U.S. officials, however, said they don't have any proof confirming the Daesh leader's death.

"Al-Baghdadi is still hiding in Syria in an area outside [the northern Syrian province of] Raqqah," Abu Ali al-Basri, the head of the intelligence and anti-terrorism department at the Iraqi Interior Ministry, told the local Al-Sabah newspaper.

He insisted that reports speaking about al-Baghdadi's death were untrue.

The U.S. offers a $25-million bounty for al-Baghdadi, who split from al-Qaeda organization in 2013.

He was last seen in public in 2014 after his group captured Mosul when he announced the creation of the so-called caliphate in both Syria and Iraq.

Last week, Iraqi authorities announced the full liberation of Mosul, the last Daesh stronghold in northern Iraq.

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