'He is gone': Donald Trump confirms death of ISIS founder Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi

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Washington DC (USA) | US President Donald Trump on Sunday announced that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the elusive chief of the Islamic State, has been killed in a raid conducted by the US special forces in northwest Syria on Saturday. "Last night the United States brought the world's number one terrorist leader to justice. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is dead," said the US President while addressing a press conference on Sunday. "He was the founder and leader of ISIS, the most ruthless and violent terror organization anywhere in the world.

 

The United States has been searching for Baghdadi for many years. Capturing or killing Baghdadi has been the top national security priority of my administration," Trump added. Earlier on Saturday night, Trump teased a major announcement, tweeting that "Something very big has just happened!" After which US media reported that the ISIS chief was killed in a raid by the US special forces in northwest Syria. Following the tweet, the White House had announced that Trump is scheduled to make a “major announcement” on Sunday at 9 am (local time).

 

The US Special Forces on Saturday carried out a risky raid in northwestern Syria against Baghdadi's hideouts in the Idlib province. US defense officials on Sunday said that final confirmation regarding the death of IS terrorists would come only after the DNA and biometric tests are conducted. Baghdadi, the self-proclaimed Caliph, joined the Al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) in 2006. The AQI then merged with other Islamist groups to form the Islamic State of Iraq.

He then became the group's leader in 2010 after his predecessor -- Abu Omar al-Baghdadi -- was killed by US forces. In 2013, Baghdadi renamed the group to the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant, widely known as ISIL or ISIS and announced his "caliphate" in 2014. Since then, he made just one public appearance and that was in the al-Nuri Mosque in Mosul in July 2014. The mosque was retaken by Iraqi security forces in June 2017. In April this year, he appeared for the first time in five years in a propaganda video released by the jihadist organization. In the video, he referred to the battle of Baghouz, which ended in March.

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