Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi dead: US President Donald Trump

WASHINGTON: Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi died during a US strike in Syria, US President Donald Trump announced on Sunday (Oct 27).

Speaking to reporters on Sunday, Mr Trump said Baghdadi killed himself after igniting a suicide vest.

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He added that no US soldiers were "lost" during the operation, but that a large number of Baghdadi's companions were killed during the raid in northwestern Syria.

"The thug who tried so hard to intimidate others spent his last moments in utter fear, panic and dread, terrified of the American forces coming down on him," the president said in a televised address to the nation from the White House.

"He reached the end of the tunnel as our dogs chased him down. He ignited his vest, killing himself and his three children. His body was mutilated by the blasts. The tunnel had caved on him," Mr Trump added.

US magazine Newsweek had first reported the news and said it had been told by a US Army official briefed on the raid that Baghdadi was dead.

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Baghdadi was long thought to be hiding somewhere along the Iraq-Syria border. He has led the group since 2010, when it was still an underground offshoot of al-Qaeda in Iraq.

US President Donald Trump tells reporters on Oct 27, 2019 that Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is dead. (Screengrab: Reuters)

On Sep 16, Islamic State's media network issued a 30-minute audio message purporting to come from Baghdadi, in which he said operations were taking place daily and called on supporters to free women jailed in camps in Iraq and Syria over their alleged links to his group.
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