President Trump on Sunday announced that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the elusive Islamic State leader, died during a U.S. military operation in Syria, a major breakthrough more than five years after the militant launched a self-proclaimed caliphate that inspired violence worldwide.
“Last night the United States brought the world’s Number One terrorist leader to justice,” Trump said in a televised announcement from the White House. “He was a sick and depraved man, and now he’s gone.”
The president described what he called a “dangerous and daring” nighttime operation by U.S. Special Operations forces in northwestern Syria, which involved firefights and culminated in what he said was a retreat by Baghdadi into a tunnel. There, Baghdadi detonated an explosive vest, killing himself and three of the six children he was believed to have.