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ISIS chief Baghdadi dead in US raid in Syria: Trump
Speaking at the White House on Sunday morning, Donald Trump said the US Special Operations forces conducted the ‘daring and dangerous night time raid’ and ‘accomplished their mission in grand style’
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi "is dead" in a secret US special forces raid in northwest Syria, President Donald Trump announced on Sunday, saying the elusive leader of the "ruthless" Islamic State and the world's number one terrorist died "like a dog and like a coward".
Speaking at the White House on Sunday morning, President Trump said the ISIS leader spent his last moments "whimpering and crying and screaming" in a dead-end tunnel before he blew himself up, killing also his three children.
Trump said the US Special Operations forces conducted the "daring and dangerous night time raid and "accomplished their mission in grand style".
"Last night the United States brought the world's number one terrorist leader to justice. Abu Bakr al-baghdadi is dead," Trump said.
"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," he said.
"He died after running into a dead-end tunnel, whimpering, crying and screaming all the way. The thug who tried so hard to intimidate others spent his last moments in utter fear, in total panic and dread, terrified of the American forces bearing down on him," Trump said.
No US troops were killed in the operation, but a number of Baghdadi's followers also died, the President said, adding that "highly sensitive material and information" had been gathered.
"He died like a dog. He died like a coward," Trump said of Baghdadi.
Despite being hunted by the world's best intelligence agencies and the US authorities offering a whopping USD 25 million reward for information leading to his capture, Baghdadi has proved to be incredibly elusive.
Baghdadi joined Al-Qaeda in Iraq, which merged with other Islamist groups to form the Islamic State of Iraq. He became the group's leader in 2010 after his predecessor was killed by US forces.
He renamed the group to the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant, widely known as ISIL or ISIS in 2013 and announced his "caliphate" in 2014.