Islamic State Leader Still Alive Says Top US Army Chief

US Army Lieutenant General Stephen Townsend said forces from the US-led coalition had not attacked a convoy that was loaded with Daesh militants released by Lebanon but had struck every Daesh

The so-called Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi may have survived a Russian airstrike in May, according to a top USA military commander.

"We're looking for him every day". He says if they find him, they probably will kill him rather than capture him.

He had seen little evidence to support the theory that Baghdadi was dead, he said.

In June, Russia reported Baghdadi was probably killed in a airstrike, but the US said it couldn't confirm that report. "There are also some indicators in intelligence channels that he's still alive". Quite honestly, I hope he's deader than a doornail.

But the US -led coalition has expressed caution for months, citing a lack of evidence. "We've heard all kinds of reporting".

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The coalition has suggested he may be hiding in the Euphrates river valley.

Iraqi Prime Minister Hayder al-Abadi declared victory over ISIS militants in Tal Afar and the entire province of Nineveh, despite continued fighting in the small town of al-'Ayadiya.

Baghdadi, who has a $25m bounty on his head, has been reported dead a number of times in the previous year.

However, the militants still control areas on both sides of the Syrian-Iraqi border. It has offered a reward of up to $25m (£19.6m) for information leading to his capture or death. "This time, we surrounded Tal Afar and launched airstrikes against IS and managed to reduce the extremists' fighting capability by more than 90 percent", Brigadier General Yahya Rasool added.

After Baghdadi declared the creation of the Islamic State in July 2014 at the Grand Al-Nuri Mosque in Mosul, ISIS went on to become the most feared jihadist group in the world. That's contrary to Russia's claims that it probably killed him in an airstrike.

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