Russian FM can't confirm IS leader's death

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Reports of al-Baghdadi's death regularly surface, but the statement Friday was the first time Russian Federation acknowledged that it may have killed him.

This file image made from video posted on a militant website Saturday, July 5, 2014, purports to show the leader of the Islamic State group, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, delivering a sermon at a mosque in Iraq during his first public appearance.

The Defense Ministry in Russian Federation revealed on Friday morning that Islamic State Leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is one of the casualties in an airstrike that also killed as many as 330 other ISIS fighters.

Russian Federation says the military began planning the hit after getting word that IS leaders were going to gather.

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"We can't confirm these reports at this time", said Col. Ryan Dillon, the spokesman for Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve, the USA -led anti-ISIS coalition. "Al-Baghdadi has taken credit for numerous terrorist attacks in Iraq since 2011, killing thousands of his fellow Iraqi citizens", the RFJ's "Wanted" profile of him says.

There have been a number of previous reports of Baghdadi's death.

Drones were sent to monitor the area before Russian bombers and jets were dispatched to hit the gathering.

There is no one-hundred-percent confirmation yet that leader of the Islamic State terror group outlawed in Russia, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, has been killed, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told a news conference on Friday.

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US officials said they could not immediately say whether the Russian strike had killed Baghdadi. It did not elaborate at the time.

Al-Baghdadi declared a caliphate in Syria and Iraq in June 2014 days after his fighters captured Mosul, the largest city they ever held.

Al-Baghdadi is a nom de guerre for a man identified as Ibrahim Awwad Ibrahim Ali al-Badri al-Samarrai.

Another Iraqi intelligence official said the Russians had not shared any information with Iraqi authorities to indicate Baghdadi was killed. The U.S.is offering a $25 million reward for information leading to his death or capture. Associated Press writer Zeina Karam contributed reporting.

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