Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, leader of the Isis terror group, is almost certainly still alive, a Kurdish official has said.

Counter-terrorism official Lahur Talabany made the comment days after the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said an Isis senior member confirmed Baghdadi had been killed in Raqqa, Syria.

However, Talabany told Reuters on Monday 17 June that he was 99% sure Baghdadi was alive and located in the southern part of Raqqa.

“Baghdadi is definitely alive. He is not dead. We have information that he is alive. We believe 99% he is alive,” he said.

“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.”

In June, Russia claimed that it may have killed Baghdadi during one of its air strikes in Raqqa, which Isis captured in 2014 and made its de facto capital city. It was not the first time that Baghdadi, who has rarely made any public appearance since announcing the creation of Isis in 2014, had been reported dead.

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