President Donald Trump announced from the White House Sunday morning that a U.S. special forces raid in northwestern Syria resulted in the death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the self-proclaimed caliph of the Islamic State.
Rumors of al-Baghdadi's death began circulating online Saturday evening after Trump announced on Twitter that, "Something very big has just happened!" Numerous news outlets, including Newsweek, Fox News, and Defense One, all independently reported that al-Baghdadi was, indeed, killed.
On Sunday morning, Trump confirmed the rumors.
"Last night the United States brought the world's number one terrorist leader to justice," Trump announced. "Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is dead."
"He died like a dog, he died like a coward. The world is now a much safer place," Trump said.
Trump explained that U.S. special forces were present at al-Baghdadi's compound for about two hours, killing numerous terrorists during the raid.
Trump said U.S. forced chased al-Baghdadi through a tunnel under the compound, where al-Baghdadi detonated a suicide vest under the shield of three children. Biometric tests later confirmed al-Baghdadi's identity.
Before leaving the compound, U.S. forces collected a cache of intelligence documents, Trump said. Several ISIS fighters were also captured, Trump said, although he did not provide additional details about prisoners.
"More dead than alive," Trump told reporters.
No U.S. special forces were hurt or killed in the raid. The Washington Examiner reported that Delta Force operators carried out the operation.
Al-Baghdadi was staying at a compound in Syria's Idlib Province, which has long been known as a save haven for terrorists, especially groups aligned with Al Qaeda.
The CIA assisted in locating al-Baghdadi, CNN reported. American forces were also assisted by Kurdish-lead Syrian Democratic Forces and the Iraqi military.
Al-Baghdadi has been one of the world's most-wanted criminals since his rise to power in the Middle East in the early 2010s. However, he has been in hiding since the fall of ISIS in 2017.