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Trump Confirms, Provides Details of ISIS Leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's Death

Militant video via AP, File

President Donald Trump on Sunday confirmed the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi during a national address. The terrorist organization's leader died during a raid on Saturday.


"Last night the United States brought the world's number one terrorist leader to justice. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is dead," Trump said. "He was the founder and leader of ISIS. The most ruthless and violent terror organization anywhere in the world. The United States has been searching for Baghdadi for many years. Capturing or killing Baghdadi has been the top national security priority of my administration."

The raid took place in northern Syria. U.S. forces chased Baghdadi into a tunnel, at which point he was trapped. According to the president, the ISIS leader killed himself and his three children when he detonated a suicide vest when American troops cornered him.

"He died after running into a dead end tunnel, whimpering and crying and screaming all the way. The compound had been cleared by this time with people either surrendering or being shot and killed. Eleven young children were moved out of the house and are uninjured," Trump explained. "The only ones remaining were Baghdadi in the tunnel and he had dragged three of his young children with him. They were led to certain death. He reached the end of the tunnel as our dogs chased him down. He ignited his vest, killing himself and the three children. His body was mutilated by the blast."

The president said on-site DNA testing positively confirmed, without a doubt, that it was al-Baghdadi killed in the blast. 

“He was a sick and depraved man, and now he’s gone. Baghdadi was vicious and violent and he died in a vicious and violent way, as a coward, running and crying," he said.


Al-Baghdadi's two wives were killed in the attacks. The women were also wearing suicide vests but the bombs did not detonate. Trump said troops had to be extremely careful with their bodies to make sure the bombs were not detonated. 

Trump thanked Russia, Turkey, Syria, Iraq and the Syrian Kurds for helping with the mission. 

"It was a very, very dangerous mission," the president said.

He revealed that he watched the entire mission in real time on a live feed in the Situation Room. A photo has now surfaced of Trump, along with Vice President Mike Pence, Defense Secretary Mark Esper, National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff U.S. Army Gen. Mark Milley and Deputy Director for Special Operations Brig. Gen. Marcus Evans.

This article has been updated with additional information.

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