The shadowy leader of the Islamic State group who presided over its global jihad and became arguably the world’s most wanted man, is dead after being targeted by a U.S. military raid in Syria, President Donald Trump said Oct. 27.
“Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is dead,” Trump said in a televised address at the White House, saying the U.S. had “brought the world’s No. 1 terrorist leader to justice.”
As U.S. forces bore down on him, Trump said al-Baghdadi fled into a tunnel with three of his children and detonated a suicide vest.
“He was a sick and depraved man, and now he’s gone,” Trump said. “He died like a dog, he died like a coward.”
No U.S. personnel were lost in the operation, while a large number of al-Baghdadi’s fighters or companions were killed with him, the president said.
The operation was built on CIA planning, a person familiar with the matter said, denying a report from Iraq that intelligence from that country’s government played a role. Trump didn’t hesitate to give the order to proceed, the person said.
A U.S. official said later that the U.S. mission involved special operations forces and took place in Syria’s Idlib region.
Al-Baghdadi had led IS since 2010. (AP, Reuters, The Japan Times)