'Russia denies knowledge of Islamic State leader al-Baghdadi's arrest'

'Russia denies knowledge of Islamic State leader al-Baghdadi's arrest'

Officials from Russia's foreign ministry have denied knowledge of reports that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, leader of the Islamic State jihadist group, has been arrested in Syria, Kurdish broadcaster Rudaw said on Tuesday.

“We are not aware of the arrest of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, 'caliph' of the Islamic State, and have not received any information or clarification in this regard,” staff from the foreign ministry’s media office were cited as telling Rudaw.

Russian media had earlier cited the European Department for Security and Information (DESI) non-profit organisation as saying it received information that Baghdadi had been arrested in an operation coordinated between Russian and Syrian government intelligence agencies.

Iraqi news site Ara News cited Iraqi military intelligence officials on Monday as saying Baghdadi had recently crossed to Syria from Iraq after being injured in an airstrike by the US-led coalition in the northwest.

The Iraqi military intelligence unit, known as Suqur al-Istikhbarat , said that recent reports about al-Baghdadi’s death were inaccurate and said he is still alive, Ara News reported.