President Donald Trump announced Sunday in an address to the nation that Joint Special Operations Command team members carried out a mission in Syria's northwestern Idlib province and Islamic State group leader Abū Bakr al-Baghdadi has been found dead.
Al-Baghdadi and his wife both detonated explosive vests they were wearing during the U.S. commando operation, a senior Iraqi security official told The Associated Press.
Baghdadi was an Iraqi national and ultraconservative cleric. Following the 2003 U.S. forces invasion, he joined the Islamist insurgency. He was detained by the U.S. Army at the Abu Ghraib prison before joining Al-Qaeda in Iraq, assuming leadership in 2010. Al-Baghdadi led IS for the last five years, attracting hundreds of thousands of followers to a caliphate in Iraq and Syria.
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Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, head of the Islamic State terror group, is believed dead following a U.S. raid Saturday in northwest Syria's Idlib province, multiple news outlets are reporting.
BREAKING - @ABC News has learned from two senior US officials that ISIS leader al Baghdadi is believed to have died during a US special operations raid via @MarthaRaddatz @LMartinezABC - more ahead @ThisWeekABC tomorrow morning— John Santucci (@Santucci) October 27, 2019
Newsweek, citing an unnamed "senior Pentagon official," reported late Saturday that authorities believe al-Baghdadi died after setting off a suicide vest as the U.S. special operations raid occurred. Other outlets, including The Associated Press, ABC News and CNN, later published similar reports.
The U.S. military is still working to confirm via "DNA and biometric testing" that al-Baghdadi died, according to CNN.
The news came as President Donald Trump tweeted, "Something very big has just happened!"
Something very big has just happened!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 27, 2019
Although the White House has not elaborated on Trump's tweet, a spokeswoman said Trump plans to make an announcement at 9 a.m. EDT Sunday, the AP reported.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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