ISIS Leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi Believed Dead In U.S. Military Operation: Reports

2019-10-26 23:37:57

A U.S. military operation targeted ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi Saturday night in Syria, according to several media reports. 

APCNN, Fox News and Defense One, among other outlets, reported that the cleric is believed by the U.S. to have died in the operation.

Iranian officials told Reuters that Tehran had been informed of Baghdadi’s death by Syrian officials “who got it from the field.”

The White House did not confirm the ISIS leader’s killing but said President Donald Trump would have a “major announcement” at 9 a.m. Sunday morning. No other information about the announcement was provided.

The secret operation targeting Baghdadi was reportedly approved by Trump earlier this month. There were reports Saturday of U.S. military helicopters over Syria’s northwestern Idlib province.

A team from the Joint Special Operations Command carried out the operation after receiving actionable intelligence, sources told Newsweek. The location had been under surveillance for some time. A senior U.S. defense official told CNN that the CIA had assisted in locating the ISIS leader.

Trump appeared to hint at the news in a tweet, saying that “something very big just happened.” He did not elaborate.

The ISIS cleric has been in hiding for the last five years. In April, a video was published by the ISIS media wing al-Furqan that showed a man purporting to be Baghdadi.

Several U.S. officials said Baghdadi had been wounded in an airstrike in 2017 and had to give up control of the terror organization for several months. He became the head of ISIS in 2010. 

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