World Islamic State leader Baghdadi almost certainly alive: Kurdish security official

11:21  17 july  2017
11:21  17 july  2017 Source:   Reuters

'Victory' over Islamic State in Mosul to be announced in next hours: Iraqi state TV

  'Victory' over Islamic State in Mosul to be announced in next hours: Iraqi state TV Iraqi security forces expect to take full control of Mosul in the next hours as only a few meters are left under the control of Islamic State, Iraqi state TV said on Saturday. "We are seeing now the last meters (of the battle) and then victory will be announced," said a TV speaker, citing the channel's correspondents embedded with security forces battling in Islamic State's redoubt in the Old City of Mosul, by the Tigris river. "It's a matter of hours," she said.A military spokesman cited by the TV said the insurgents' defense lines were collapsing.

Sulaimania, IRAQ (Reuters) - The top Kurdish counter-terrorism official said on Monday he was 99 percent sure that Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al- Baghdadi was alive and located south of the Syrian city of Raqqa, after speculation that he had been killed.

Sulaimania, IRAQ (Reuters) – The top Kurdish counter-terrorism official said on Monday he was 99 percent sure that Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al- Baghdadi was alive and located south of the Syrian city of Raqqa, after speculation that he had been killed.

  Islamic State leader Baghdadi almost certainly alive: Kurdish security official © X00514/REUTERS

A top Kurdish counter-terrorism official said on Monday he was 99 percent sure that Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was alive and located south of the Syrian city of Raqqa, after reports that he had been killed.

"Baghdadi is definitely alive. He is not dead. We have information that he is alive. We believe 99 percent he is alive," Lahur Talabany told Reuters in an interview.

"Don't forget his roots go back to al Qaeda days in Iraq. He was hiding from security services. He knows what he is doing."

Iraqi security forces have ended three years of Islamic State rule in the Iraqi city of Mosul, and the group is under growing pressure in Raqqa - both strongholds in the militants' crumbling self-proclaimed caliphate.

Still, Talabany said Islamic State was shifting tactics despite low morale and it would take three or four years to eliminate the group.

After defeat, Islamic State would wage an insurgency and resemble al-Qaeda on "steroids," he said.

The future leaders of Islamic State were expected to be intelligence officers who served under former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, the men credited with devising the group's strategy. (Reporting by Michael Georgy; Editing by Andrew Heavens)


After Mosul, Islamic State digs in for guerrilla warfare .
<p>Islamic State militants began reinventing themselves months before U.S.-backed Iraqi forces ended their three-year reign of terror in Mosul, putting aside the dream of a modern-day caliphate and preparing the ground for a different fight.</p>Intelligence and local officials said that, a few months ago, they noticed a growing stream of commanders and fighters flowing out of the city to the Hamrin mountains in northeast Iraq which offer hideouts and access to four Iraqi provinces.

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