Update: US military officials are confirming ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is dead following a raid by US forces in northern Syria. The latest reports state Baghdadi killed himself by detonating a suicide vest as troops entered his compound.
Late Saturday evening, President Trump teased a “major statement” would be delivered on Sunday morning. Reports indicate Trump approved the raid nearly a week ago.
Washington (dpa) – The US military targeted ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in a raid in north-western Syria on Saturday, broadcaster CNN reported, citing a senior US defence official.
The CIA assisted in locating the ISIS leader, the official said, according to the report.
Newsweek also reported on the raid, saying that Trump approved the mission nearly a week before it took place.
According to the Newsweek report, a US Army official told the White House that the Defence Department had “high confidence” that a “high-value target” killed in the raid in Syria’s north-western Idlib province was al-Baghdadi, but further verification is pending.
There has been no official confirmation.
Late Saturday evening, the White House announced that US President Donald Trump will make a “major statement” Sunday morning, but provided no further details.
In an email, White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley simply said that the address will take place at the White House at 9 am (1300 GMT) Sunday.
The announcement came soon after Trump tweeted that “Something very big has just happened!”
Al-Baghdadi has been in hiding for five years. His whereabouts are unknown.
The US has for years been offering a reward of 25 million dollars for information that could lead to al-Baghdadi.
In April, al-Baghdadi appeared in a video, the first since footage was released in 2014 a few days after the group’s self-styled “caliphate” was declared in Iraq and Syria.
Over the years there have been multiple claims of al-Baghdadi’s death that were later proven false.
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