"If we knew, we would tell you - right now, I can't confirm or deny it", he said. With Syrian, Russian and Iranian reports of his death, there will now be increased public scrutiny of his whereabouts and his potential successor. If true, however, his death would be a devastating loss to the group.
Baghdadi's group has earned global notoriety for imposing a hardline form of Islam that has included stonings, beheadings and amputations as it has claimed the creation of a "caliphate" after snatching territory across Syria and Iraq.
Numerous reports suggesting that Baghdadi had been killed have raised questions about who might replace him as head of a diverse group comprised of Iraqis and other Arabs as well as hardcore foreign fighters. It is perhaps instead the beginning of a different type of threat. Abdulrahman told Reuters that the sources said Baghdadi had been in Deir al-Zor for the past three months and that Baghdadi had died, but not when or how.
"We have information that he is alive".
But with a huge aerial assault on IS territories by the US-led coalition, many media outlets believe there is more substance to this claim. "He knows what he is doing".
Another source of the news is Al Sumaria TV, which reported that ISIS gunmen issued a brief statement announcing their leader's death within the Iraqi province of Nineveh.
With Baghdadi's death, al-Qaeda may sense an opportunity to regain ground lost to ISIS in the struggle to be at the vanguard of the global jihadi movement.
The candidate must also be a descendant of the Quraysh, the tribe of the prophet Muhammad himself.
Mattis said that a ceasefire in southwestern Syria was holding so far. It was the time when he proclaimed the 'caliphate' from a pulpit of an Iraqi mosque and led his followers.
While there's much to celebrate in the fall of Mosul, we also need to steel ourselves for the road ahead. But the group created a new thought in the name of Islam which is more dangerous.
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, leader of the Isis terror group, is almost certainly still alive, a Kurdish official has said.
'Baghdadi is definitely alive. Army Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend, commander of Operation Inherent Resolve coalition currently fighting ISIS, told reporters on Tuesday that he had no information on Baghdadi's status. Among the most important decisions that the Trump administration has made was approving the provision of arms and training to Kurdish elements of the Syrian Democratic Forces to lay siege to Raqqa. That's the bottom line.
At the height of its power two years ago, Islamic State ruled over millions of people in territory running from northern Syria through towns and villages along the Tigris and Euphrates river valleys to the outskirts of the Iraqi capital Baghdad.