WASHINGTON, Oct 27 - Fugitive Islamic State (IS) leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has been killed in a US military operation in northwest Syria, United States President Donald Trump announced on Sunday.
Speaking from the White House, Trump said al-Baghdadi detonated his suicide vest during a raid by special forces late on Saturday, the BBC reported.
US special forces executed a �daring night-time raid� and accomplished their mission in grand style, he said.
�He died after running into a dead-end tunnel, whimpering, crying and screaming all the way. The thug who tried so hard to intimidate others spent his last moments in utter fear, in total panic and dread, terrified of the American forces bearing down on him,� Trump said.
No US soldiers were killed in the operation but a number of Baghdadi�s followers also perished with him, he added.
Baghdadi, the self-proclaimed Caliph, has made only one public appearance, in July 2014, in the al-Nuri Mosque in Mosul, announcing the birth of Islamic State�s much-feared �caliphate� across swathes of Iraq and Syria. The mosque was retaken by Iraqi security forces in June 2017.
In April this year, he appeared for the first time in five years in a propaganda video released by the jihadist organisation. In the video, he referred to the battle of Baghouz, which ended in March.
An Iraqi national, Baghdadi was an ultraconservative Islamist who fought against US forces following the 2003 invasion that toppled Iraqi strongman Saddam Hussein. Baghdadi was later arrested and US forces kept him in the detention centres of Abu Ghraib and Camp Bucca, where a number of Islamist militants were lodged.
Baghdadi joined Al-Qaeda in Iraq, which merged with other Islamist groups to form the Islamic State of Iraq. He became the group�s leader in 2010 after his predecessor was killed by US forces. He renamed the group to the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant, widely known as ISIL or ISIS in 2013 and announced his �caliphate� in 2014.
The United States had announced a USD 25 million reward for information on his whereabouts. � Agencies