July 12, 2017

FINGERS CROSSED: Monitoring group says ISIS members confirm leader’s death.

A London-based monitoring group with a solid history of accurately reporting incidents from inside war-torn Syria said Tuesday that it had been able to confirm the death of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

Russia said in June that there was a “high degree of probability” al-Baghdadi had been killed in a Russian airstrike at the end of May. Moscow first made the claim on June 16, saying it had evidence he was among a group of ISIS leaders targeted at a meeting just outside the terror group’s de facto capital in Raqqa, Syria.

U.S. and Iraqi officials cast doubt on the claim then, however, saying they had no evidence to suggest al-Baghdadi was dead. There have been numerous erroneous reports of his demise since ISIS seized a vast swath of northern Iraq and Syria in the summer of 2014.

The Reuters news agency quoted U.S. military officials in Washington again on Tuesday as saying they had no reason yet to believe al-Baghdadi was dead.

A spokesman for the U.S.-led anti-ISIS coalition told CBS News in an emailed statement that, “we cannot confirm this report, but hope it is true. We strongly advise ISIS to implement a strong line of succession, it will be needed.”

That’s some deep trolling by the Pentagon.