US has no proof of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s death: Defence Secretary Jim Mattis
US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis on Friday said that he cannot confirm whether or not Islamic State chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is dead.
"If we knew, we would tell you -- right now, I can't confirm or deny it," Mattis said.
"Our approach is we assume he's alive until it's proven otherwise, and right now I can't prove it otherwise," he added.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a longtime conflict monitor, said on Tuesday it had information from top Islamic State group leaders confirming the death of the jihadist organisation's chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
"Top tier commanders from IS who are present in Deir Ezzor province have confirmed the death of Abu Bakr al- Baghdadi, emir of the Islamic State group, to the Observatory," director Rami Abdel Rahman had told news agency AFP.
However, there was no official confirmation or denial of the news on IS-run social media outlets.
(With agency inputs)