“Baghdadi is definitely alive. He is not dead. We have information that he is alive. We believe 99 percent he is alive,” Lahur Talabany, a top Kurdish counter-terrorism official said in an interview on Monday.

Mr Talabany claimed the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) leader was located somewhere south of Raqqa, the capital of the jihadist group’s so-called caliphate.

“Don’t forget his roots go back to al-Qaeda days in Iraq. He has years of experience in hiding and getting away from the security services,” he told Reuters. “He knows what he is doing.”