ISIS Leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi Killed in Syria by US Forces, Reports Suggest
Head of Islamic State reportedly killed during special operation
The leader of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, has been killed in Syria during a special operation by US forces, early reports suggest.
While the news has yet to be officially confirmed, President Donald Trump tweeted on Saturday evening that "Something very big has just happened!"
The White House has also issued announced that "major news" would be revealed during an official statement from DC at 9 a.m. Sunday.
Citing a "well-placed military source," Fox News is reporting the Islamic State group leader, who reportedly had a $25 million bounty on his head, is believed to have been killed in Syria.
The source said that on Saturday night, a “high-value ISIS target” — believed to be al-Baghdadi — was killed by U.S.-led forces in Idlib.
The source’s account was also later confirmed by a senior Trump administration official, according to Fox.
Newsweek reported late Saturday that Baghdadi was killed during a special operations mission that President Trump approved about a week ago.
In September, an audio recording purportedly by Baghdadi included a call for members of the extremist group to use any means necessary to free Muslims who were being detained “by Crusaders and their Shiite followers.”
The U.S. had reportedly posted a bounty of $25 million for information leading to the capture of Baghdadi.
Earlier this year, Iraqi intelligence officials speaking to Fox News maintained he was lurking in Syrian border towns, often donning non-traditional or “regular” clothes, using a civilian car and making sure all those around him had no mobile phones or electronic devices in order to bypass detection.
Some experts had predicted that as time passed and ISIS losses in the Middle East started to mount, it was inevitable that Baghdadi would either be captured or killed.
Something very big has just happened!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 27, 2019
Yahoo reports the U.S. military conducted an operation against elusive Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi on Saturday, a U.S. official said, as U.S. President Donald Trump prepared to make a “major statement” at the White House on Sunday morning.
The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, was unable to say whether the operation against Baghdadi was successful.
Newsweek said the operation took place in Syria’s northwestern Idlib province and was carried out by special operations forces after receiving actionable intelligence.
The official did not disclose details of the operation and other U.S. officials contacted by Reuters declined to comment.
The Pentagon has yet to make a comment.
White House spokesman Hogan Gidley announced late on Saturday that Trump would make a “major statement” at 9 a.m. EST (1300 GMT) on Sunday.
Gidley gave no further details.
The president gave an indication that something was afoot earlier on Saturday night when he tweeted without explanation, “Something very big has just happened!”
April, footage emerged appearing to show ISIS leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi alive and talking about the month’s Sri Lanka bombings.