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Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi: US ‘conducts operation against IS chief’ – US media

Image copyright AFP Image caption There are unconfirmed reports of a US raid against Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi The US military has conducted an operation against the fugitive leader of the Islamic State (IS) group, US media report.Claims of a raid against Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi have not been confirmed.The White House said US…

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Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi: US ‘conducts operation against IS chief’ – US media

Baghdadi addressing crowd in Mosul, 2014Image copyright
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There are unconfirmed reports of a US raid against Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi

The US military has conducted an operation against the fugitive leader of the Islamic State (IS) group, US media report.

Claims of a raid against Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi have not been confirmed.

The White House said US President Donald Trump would make a “major statement” on Sunday, but gave no further details.

Mr Trump earlier shared a cryptic tweet saying: “Something very big has just happened!”

Officials quoted anonymously by various media outlets said US forces targeted the militant leader in a raid in northwest Syria.

A US official told Reuters news agency an operation took place but was unable to confirm speculation that Baghdadi was killed.

The IS leader has been wrongly reported to be dead on previous occasions.

The White House has neither confirmed that an operation took place, nor its alleged outcome.

The raid was carried out by special operations forces after they received “actionable intelligence”, Newsweek said, citing unnamed sources.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based monitoring group, said helicopter gunfire had killed nine people near a village in the Syrian province of Idlib, where “groups linked to the Islamic State group” were present.

Mr Trump is set to make his statement at 13:00 GMT (09:00 local time) on Sunday.

Who is Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi?

The IS leader has been described as the world’s most wanted man.

In October 2011, the US officially designated him a “terrorist” and offered a reward of $10m (£5.8m; 7.3m euros) for information leading to his capture or death.

Baghdadi has a reputation as a highly organised and ruthless battlefield tactician.

He was born near Samarra, north of Baghdad, in 1971, and his real name is Ibrahim Awad al-Badri.

Reports suggest he was a cleric in a mosque in the city around the time of the US-led invasion in 2003.

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Media captionA video appearing to show the IS group leader was released earlier this year

Some believe he was already a militant jihadist during the rule of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. Others suggest he was radicalised during the four years he was held at Camp Bucca, a US facility in southern Iraq where many al-Qaeda commanders were detained.

He emerged in 2010 as the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq, one of the groups that merged with IS, and rose to prominence during the attempted merger with the al-Nusra Front in Syria.

IS released a video of a man it said was Baghdadi earlier this year. Before this, he had not been seen since 2014, when he proclaimed from Mosul the creation of a “caliphate” across parts of Syria and Iraq.

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Hearts review CCTV to find fan after Zdenek Zlamal coin throw

Media playback is not supported on this device Hearts goalkeeper Zdenek Zlamal is struck with a coin from Rangers endHearts are examining footage to find the supporter who threw a coin at their goalkeeper Zdenek Zlamal in their Scottish Cup win over Rangers.The Czech was hit in the chest by a two-pence piece thrown from…

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Hearts review CCTV to find fan after Zdenek Zlamal coin throw

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Hearts goalkeeper Zdenek Zlamal is struck with a coin from Rangers end

Hearts are examining footage to find the supporter who threw a coin at their goalkeeper Zdenek Zlamal in their Scottish Cup win over Rangers.

The Czech was hit in the chest by a two-pence piece thrown from the Rangers section of the ground late in the second half with the hosts 1-0 up.

Footage also shows another coin narrowly missing the player as he attempts to take a goal kick.

Daniel Stendel’s side won the game to reach the semi-finals.

It comes a year after Zlamal was targeted with a coin by a Celtic fan at Tynecastle in a 2-1 win for the Glasgow club.

The 34-year-old was also punched in an Edinburgh derby by a Hibs fan, who was given a football banning order for a year and ordered to perform unpaid work.

Police Scotland have been contacted for comment.

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Hearts 1-0 Rangers: Hearts goalkeeper Zdenek Zlamal is struck with a coin from Rangers end

Hearts goalkeeper Zdenek Zlamal is struck with a coin from the Rangers end at Tynecastle in the home side’s 1-0 Scottish Cup win.UK users only

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Hearts 1-0 Rangers: Hearts goalkeeper Zdenek Zlamal is struck with a coin from Rangers end

Hearts goalkeeper Zdenek Zlamal is struck with a coin from the Rangers end at Tynecastle in the home side’s 1-0 Scottish Cup win.

UK users only

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Sophia Florsch: German driver to be in all-female Le Mans 24-hour team

Sophia Florsch is to be the first woman to race in the Formula 3 seriesAn all-female team including Sophia Florsch will compete at this year’s Le Mans 24-hour race. June’s race will take place less than two years after German Formula 3 driver Florsch, 19, survived a huge 170mph crash at the Macau GP, after…

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Sophia Florsch: German driver to be in all-female Le Mans 24-hour team

Sophia Florsch

Sophia Florsch is to be the first woman to race in the Formula 3 series

An all-female team including Sophia Florsch will compete at this year’s Le Mans 24-hour race.

June’s race will take place less than two years after German Formula 3 driver Florsch, 19, survived a huge 170mph crash at the Macau GP, after which she needed surgery on a fractured spine.

She will line up with Alfa Romeo F1 test/development driver Tatiana Calderon and Briton Katherine Legge.

They will drive in the LMP2 category for Richard Mille’s Racing Oreca team.

Florsch said on social media: “Yes! I am racing this high class superduper motorsport event. Ready to rumble girls.”

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The car doesn’t know the difference between male and female drivers – Legge

Legge, 39, is an experienced sportscar driver who has competed in the Daytona 24 Hours event in America in all-female line-ups for the past two years.

Calderon, 26, raced in Formula 2 – Formula 1’s undercard series – last season for the Arden team.

They all currently compete in the Oreca car in the European Le Mans Series of endurance racing.

The Le Mans 24-hour race is one of motorsport’s biggest events, which sees many top drivers competing.

Last year’s race was won by a team including two-time F1 world champion Fernando Alonso.

The 2019 event also saw the first all-female line-up compete in the famous race, finishing in 39th place.

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