ISIS Forums Go Dark as Rumors Swirl Over Baghdadi’s Death

Nov 09, 2014 at 7:42 AM ET

Amid speculation that the United States and its allies may have killed ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in airstrikes over the weekend, supporters of the jihadi group are following instructions to keep quiet online. The Islamic State’s main forum is down and prominent social media accounts linked to ISIS are urging other supporters not to talk about the news.

On Saturday, a sortie of fighter jets carried out the strikes on Al-Qaim, an Iraqi town near Mosul, reportedly killing more than 50 people.

At least one strike targeted a group of ten vehicles carrying ISIS fighters, while another targeted a house where the group’s senior leaders had gathered for a meeting, according to various news reports. Baghdad officials say that several high-ranking members of ISIS were among the casualties.

Though the U.S. has yet to say who was killed in the strikes, rumors continue to swirl that Baghdadi was either among the dead or gravely wounded. ISIS fighters have reportedly cleared a hospital in the area so that doctors can care for the wounded, and the group is said to be asking for blood donations.

And yet ISIS supporters, normally a vocal group on social media, are uncharacteristically quiet. The jihadi group’s official media wing is well-known for effectively using social media to recruit, intimidate and spread propaganda. This time, however, mum’s the word.

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