|Arthur Dominic Villasanta |||Jun 16, 2017 08:41 AM EDT|
White phosporous artillery shells exploding over Raqqa.
In uncharacteristic fashion, Russia is claiming to have killed ISIS leader and Islamic caliphate founder Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in a Russian Air Force air strike on May 28 south of Raqqa.
Russia's belated claim to have killed al-Baghdadi seems to have been forced upon it by news reports the either the Syrian Army or U.S.- backed Syrian Democratic Forces supported by the U.S. Army killed al-Baghdadi in Raqqa on June 10.
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Al-Baghdadi was likely killed in an artillery bombardment although some sources said an airstrike killed the late ISIS leader.
The conflicting accounts of who killed al-Baghdadi prove, however, that the man is indeed dead and that the world should rejoice.
It's in the Russian character to claim credit for another's achievements, which explains why Russia now claims to have killed the notorious ISIS leader with a $34 million bounty on his head.
What isn't consistent is they waited 17 days before announcing the kill. Russian state-controlled media sought to explain this anomaly by claiming they were waiting for confirmation of al-Baghdadi's death.
Some western analysts, however, said scruples such as this are uncharacteristic for the Russians, who would have immediately claimed killing al-Baghdadi a few days after May 28 instead of having U.S. allies claim it first.
Russian state-controlled media said the airstrike on May 28 was carried out on the outskirts of Raqqa. The bombing hit a command post where ISIS leaders were meeting.
"According to information, which is being verified via different channels, the meeting was also attended by the (ISIS) leader Ibrahim Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who was eliminated in the strike," said Russia's defense ministry.
Other state media claimed more than 300 "terrorists" were killed in the strike, which is a patent impossibility. It said the ISIS leaders were discussing their escape from the besieged city through the southern corridor.
The airstrike was carried out following drone footage confirmation of the council's meeting location, according to Russian state media.
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