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President says ISIS leader al-Baghdadi ‘died like a dog’ during U.S. military raid

Posted: 11:06 PM, Oct 26, 2019
Updated: 2019-10-27 10:30:28-04

WASHINGTON (CNN) — President Donald Trump confirmed Sunday morning that ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was killed in a US military raid in northwest Syria over the weekend.

“Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is dead,” Trump said during a nationally televised press conference at the White House.

The President said a U.S. special operations forces mission went after the ISIS leader and there were no U.S. deaths during the mission.

The President said “immediate” and “totally positive” test results proved it was al-Baghdadi, who the President said “died like a dog,” “whimpering” and in “utter fear” during the raid.

A senior administration official said earlier Sunday that Trump approved the mission aimed at targeting ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi  in a US military raid in northwest Syria.

No US service members were killed in the operation, a US official told CNN.

CNN reported  early Sunday morning that  al-Baghdadi was believed to have been killed in the raid, according to a senior US defense official and a source with knowledge. The final confirmation was pending while DNA and biometric testing is conducted, both sources told CNN.

The defense official said it appeared that al-Baghdadi detonated a suicide vest during the raid. The raid was carried out by special operations commandos, a source familiar with the operation told CNN. The CIA assisted in locating the ISIS leader, the defense official said.

Al-Baghdadi became the leader of Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) in 2010. In 2013, ISI declared its absorption of an al Qaeda-backed militant group in Syria and al-Baghdadi said that his group would now be known as Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS).

Al-Baghdadi has been in hiding for the last five years. In April, a video published by the ISIS media wing al-Furqan showed a man purporting to be al-Baghdadi. It was the first time he had been seen since July 2014, when he spoke at the Great Mosque in Mosul.

CNN’s Ryan Browne and Phil Mattingly contributed to this report.