Trump confirms Baghdadi killed in U.S. operation

Donald Trump.
(Image credit: Shealah Craighead/The White House via Getty Images)

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the elusive leader of the Islamic State, has been killed, President Trump confirmed Sunday morning.

President Trump announced Baghdadi was killed in a secret U.S. military operation Saturday evening in Syria. The president did not spare many details when addressing the press, telling reporters Baghdadi was killed while being chased by dogs into a dead-end tunnel, where "whimpering, crying, and screaming," he detonated his explosive vest, reportedly killing himself and three children. Trump said Baghdadi's body was mutilated by the blast, but tests confirmed his identity. "He died like a dog," Trump said. "He died like a coward."

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Trump said there were no American deaths in the operation, and 11 other young children were removed from Baghdadi's compound uninjured. Trump said the U.S. had the elusive Baghdadi under surveillance for weeks before launching the raid, which the president said involved eight helicopters flying over dangerous territory in Moscow-controlled airspace — the U.S. forces took off from and returned safely to an unspecified location.

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The president thanked Russia, Turkey, and Kurdish forces in Syria for their assistance in allowing the U.S. to carry out the operation. One official speaking on condition of anonymity said the elite military unit, Delta Force, carried out the raid with support from the CIA and Kurdish forces. Read more at The New York Times and The Washington Post.

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