(WJHL) – President Donald Trump announced Sunday that ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was killed during a special operations raid, fulfilling the top national security priority of his administration.
The Islamic State, commonly known as ISIS, leader Baghdadi was perhaps the most wanted person in the world. He is the highest-ranking terrorist to be confirmed dead since Osama bin Laden in 2011.
During a press conference Sunday, Trump said United States Special Operations commandos made the raid late Saturday in northwestern Syria. He said that the US has been tracking Baghdadi for at least two weeks.
“He will never again harm another innocent man, woman or child. He died like a dog. He died like a coward. The world is now a much safer place,” Trump said Sunday.
Baghdadi ran into a tunnel, Trump said, with his three young children, where they were trapped by U.S. personnel.
Trapped in the tunnel, Baghdadi triggered a suicide vest and killed himself along with his children.
“Al-Baghdadi was vicious and violent and he died in a vicious and violent way. As a coward running and crying,” Trump said. “This raid was impeccable and could only have taken place with the acknowledgment and help of certain other nations and people. I want to thank the nations of Russia, Turkey, Syria, and Iraq and I also want to thank the Syrian Kurds for certain support they were able to give us.”
“U.S. personnel were incredible,” Trump said Sunday morning, commending the special operations team members who raided Baghdadi’s outfit. He said no U.S. personnel were lost during the mission, except for a K-9 officer who was injured and transported back to the U.S.
According to the Associated Press, the announcement comes as Trump has been on the receiving end of bipartisan criticism in Washington following the recent pullback of U.S. troops from northeastern Syria. Critics fear that move will allow the militant group to regain strength after it had lost vast stretches of the territory it had once controlled.
“Last night was a great night for the United States and for the world,” Trump said.