WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Friday he assumes that Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is still alive.


Earlier this month, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said it had "confirmed information" that Baghdadi had been killed, but Western and Iraqi officials have been skeptical.


"I think that he's alive, and I'll believe otherwise when we know we've killed him. But we're going after him … we assume he's alive,” Mattis told reporters at the Pentagon.


(Reporting by Idrees Ali and Phil Stewart; Editing by Leslie Adler)