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Is ISIS chief still alive? Hunt back on for bloodthirsty Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi

Abu Bakr al-BaghdadiGETTYAbu Bakr al-Baghdadi is 'probably still alive and in hiding'

The jihadi general, who declared a caliphate governed from a mosque in Mosul in 2014, was thought to have been killed in a Russian airstrike earlier this year. 

But US Army Lt Gen Stephen Townsend, who commands the coalition forces fighting ISIS in Iraq and Syria, said he based his claim on “lack of evidence” of al-Baghdadi's death as well as intelligence of the contrary.

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Abu Bakr al-BaghdadiGETTYISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi preaches his warped version of Islam

Do I believe he's alive? Yes

Lt Gen Stephen Townsend

Speaking from his Baghdad HQ he told reporters: “Do I believe he's alive? Yes.”

And he added: “There are also some indicators in intelligence channels that he's alive.”

Russia said in June there was a “high probability” al-Baghdadi was killed when one of their airstrikes hit a gathering of ISIS commanders on the outskirts of the Syrian city of Raqqa. 

But a month later officials admitted they could not confirm his death.

Kurdish counter-terrorism officer Lahur Talabany said he was 99 per cent

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