Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the militant group Isis, was killed on Saturday in a US special forces raid in north-western Syria, President Donald Trump announced from the White House on Sunday.
Trump announced the death Sunday, after hinting at the news on Twitter on Saturday night, tweeting, “Something very big has just happened!”
At a Sunday press conference at the White House, Trump said, “Last night the United States brought the world’s number one terrorist leader to justice. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is dead.”
According to Trump, the terrorist leader died after detonating a suicide vest following a battle at an ISIS compound. Al-Baghdadi has been declared dead before; the president said US officials are confident he is now actually dead due to a DNA test conducted on the leader’s body.
The operation was carried out by US forces alone; Trump said other countries and groups gave support, telling reporters, “Russia was great, Iraq was excellent.” Trump also thanked Kurdish forces in Syria, who the president said gave the US intelligence that aided the operation.
The president gave an unusual amount of detail about the operation during the conference, telling reporters about the US’ approach to the compound by air, the gunfire US helicopters faced, and describing the tactics used to seize the compound.
Trump also described al-Baghdadi’s final moments a number of times, saying the leader died “whimpering and crying and screaming all the way.”
Trump said a number of other ISIS fighters were killed, and said an undisclosed number of adults and 11 children were captured by US forces.