Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the shadowy leader of the Islamic State group who presided over its global jihad and became arguably the world’s most wanted man, has been killed in a U.S. special operations raid, U.S. President Donald Trump announced on Sunday.
“Last night the United States brought the world’s number one terrorist leader to justice,” he said.
Trump made the announcement from the White House on Sunday.
According to Trump, the raid took place overnight at a compound in northwest Syria and lasted approximately two hours.
He said al-Baghdadi was cornered by U.S. dogs in a dead-end tunnel.
Trump said it is there that he ignited a suicide vest, killing himself and three of his children.
“He was a sick and depraved man, and now he’s gone,” Trump said. “He died like a dog, he died like a coward.”
Trump said a “large number” of ISIS fighters and al-Baghdadi’s companions were also killed in the raid, but that no U.S. personnel were lost as a result of the operation.
According to Trump, test results gave “certain, immediate and totally positive identification” that al-Baghdadi was dead.
“It was him,” he said.
Trump thanked Russia, Turkey, Iraq, Syria and the Syrian Kurdish forces for their assistance in the operation.
“Last night was a great night for the United States and for the world, a brutal killer, one who has caused so much hardship and death has violently been eliminated. He will never again harm another innocent man, woman or child,” Trump said. “The world is now a much safer place.”
Trump hinted at the news in a tweet posted late Saturday evening.
“Something very big has just happened!” he wrote.
In a tweet of his own Sunday morning, general commander of the Syrian Democratic Forces Mazloum Abdi portrayed al-Baghdadi’s death as a joint effort, saying it was a “Successful& historical operation due to a joint intelligence work with the United States of America.”