- US President Donald Trump has announced that ISIS chief Abu Bakr-al Baghdadi was dead in a special operations raid Sunday.
- Baghdadi allegedly detonated an explosive vest that killed him and his three children
- Al-Baghdadi is the highest ranking terrorist since Osama bin Laden who died in 2011
MANILA, Philippines – President Donald Trump said Sunday that terrorist leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, known as the world’s most wanted man, was killed during a special operations raid over the weekend.
“Last night the United States brought the world’s No. 1 terrorist leader to justice,” Trump said at the White House in an early morning televised address to the nation.
Al-Baghdadi led the extremist organization known as the Islamic State, also known as ISIS.
Trump said he died after running into a dead-end tunnel while being chased by United States Special Operations commandos in Northwest Syria. Al-Baghdadi detonated an explosive vest that killed him as well as three of his children, Trump said.
He died like a dog,” Trump said. “He died like a coward. The world is now a much safer place.””He was a sick and depraved man, and now he’s gone,” Trump said.
Al-Baghdadi is the highest-ranking terrorist to be killed or captured since the death of Osama bin Laden in 2011.
No U.S. personnel were killed in the raid, Trump said.
The announcement of Baghdadi’s death came three weeks after Trump abruptly announced the withdrawal of U.S. troops from northern Syria, allowing Turkey to sweep into the area and attack Kuridsh rivals. That decision drew bipartisan criticism that Trump had abandoned a former ally that fought alongside U.S. forces against ISIS.
The renewed fighting in the region also led to the release of an unknown number of ISIS fighters who had been imprisoned by the Kurds. Russian forces also moved into the region as a fragile ceasefire along the Turkey-Syria border took hold.
Both the Kurds and the Turks said they provided assistance to the U.S. raid that targeted al-Baghdadi.
As the leader of a self-proclaimed caliphate, al-Baghdadi urged followers to carry out attacks against the United States and other western countries.
There have been many previous reports of al-Baghdadi’s death that did not pan out, and the U.S. put a $25 million bounty on his head.
Al-Baghdadi appeared in an ISIS video in late April, his first public appearance in nearly five years, praising Easter Sunday attacks in Sri Lanka against Catholic churches and high-end hotels that killed more than 250 people, including at least four Americans.