WASHINGTON, DC (AP) — Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the shadowy leader of the Islamic State group who presided over its global jihad and became arguably the world’s most wanted man, is believed dead after being targeted by a U.S. military raid in Syria.
President Trump said in a statement to the nation from the White House’s Diplomatic Room that on-site DNA confirmed “al-Baghdadi is dead” — fulfilling the top national security priority of his administration.
He says no U.S. personnel were lost in the mission.
Trump says al-Baghdadi died after running into a dead-end tunnel and igniting an explosive vest, killing himself and three of his young children
Al-Baghdadi presided over IS’s global jihad and became arguably the world’s most wanted man.
The announcement comes as Trump has been on the receiving end of bipartisan criticism in Washington following the recent pullback of U.S. troops from northeastern Syria. Critics fear that move will allow the militant group to regain strength after it had lost vast stretches of territory it had once controlled
The president said during remarks from the White House’s Diplomatic Room that al-Baghdadi spent his last moments in utter fear and claims that the IS leader was “whimpering and crying” and died as “a coward, running and crying.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is criticizing the White House for failing to notify congressional leaders before the U.S. raid in Syria that President Donald Trump says killed the leader of the Islamic State group.
President Trump says he kept lawmakers out of the loop because he was fearful of leaks.
US Senator from North Carolina Richard Burr issued a statement on the raid, saying:
“The U.S. raid against Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi marks an important milestone in the campaign against remaining ISIS leadership. The world is safer without al-Baghdadi in it. ISIS fighters should take note that their leader died in a hole, miles away from them, in what he thought was a safe haven. The message is clear. There is no safe haven.”
Senator Thom Tillis also issued a statement, saying:
“The elimination of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is a major achievement that will make the world a better and safer place. I’m grateful for the incredible bravery of our Special Forces, the decisive leadership of President Trump, and the dedicated work of our nation’s intelligence professionals. A depraved and evil terrorist—the world’s most wanted man—has been brought to justice by America.”