IS chief Baghdadi killed in U.S. raid

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Sunday that the Islamic State (IS) group’s elusive leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi had been killed, dying “like a dog” in a night raid by U.S. special forces in northwest Syria. Mr. Trump told the nation in a televised White House address that a “large number” of IS militants were killed during the raid. Cornered in a tunnel, Baghdadi detonated a suicide vest. “He died after running into a dead-end tunnel, whimpering and crying and screaming all the way,” Mr. Trump said, adding that three of Baghdadi’s children were also killed in the blast. Mr. Trump said the raid — involving eight helicopters flying more than an hour from an undisclosed base — was carried out with the cooperation of Russia, Syria, Turkey and Iraq. He also thanked the Syrian Kurds “for a certain support they were able to give us.” Mr. Trump’s National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien described the dramatic message the President and his advisers received as they monitored the raid from the White House Situation Room. “The commander of the mission called and said, ‘100 per cent confidence, Jackpot’” — meaning Baghdadi was dead — Mr. O’Brien said on NBC. Identity confirmed Baghdadi, an Iraqi native, was believed to be 48 years old. His death has been reported several times over the years. Mr. Trump said there was no doubt this time, with a DNA field test confirming his identity. At its height, IS controlled a swath of Iraq and Syria in a self-declared caliphate, brutally imposing a puritanical version of Islam and planning terror attacks. It took years of war before its final slice of territory in Syria was seized this March.

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