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Rumors of his death have come and gone, but this time, there seems to be more credibiltiy to the report.
Rumors of the death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi have floated for weeks, with Russia insisting that one of its air strikes took out the self-proclaimed “caliph” of ISIS last month. Just a few days ago, the terror organization executed one of its preachers for accidentally referencing Baghdadi’s death. Today, however, Iraqi News picked up reports from the city of Tal Afar that ISIS has announced the death of its leader — and that civil war has begun within the organization to determine who succeeds him:
The Islamic State has declared its runaway supreme leader dead, announcing it was going to name a successor soon, a source in Nineveh province said, the latest episode in clashing, unconfirmed reports around the leader’s survival.
Alsumaria News quoted a local source Tuesday saying that IS made a brief statement in the town of Tal Afar, west of Mosul, in which it confirmed Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s death without adding further details except stressing an imminent declaration of a successor and a call upon fighters to remain resilient.
Chaos flared in Tal Afar following the declaration, according to Alsumaria News’s sources. Infighting among Baghdadi’s loyalists and opponents broke out, prompting the group to carry out wide-scale arrests and to impose a curfew at most of the town.