The leader of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, was reportedly killed during a U.S. special forces raid in northwestern Syria. On Sunday President Trump said al-Baghdadi blew himself up along with three of his children. Baghdadi had led the so-called Islamic State since 2010. At its peak, ISIS controlled a large swath of land across Syria and Iraq and maintained a force of tens of thousands of fighters recruited from more than 100 countries. The group also claimed responsibility for deadly attacks across five continents. Some analysts say al-Baghdadi was radicalized after he was jailed by U.S. forces in Iraq in 2004. He was held for 11 months — including reportedly at the notorious Abu Ghraib prison. On Sunday morning President Trump announced al-Baghdadi’s death in a televised address.
President Trump: “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.”
During President Trump’s speech, he invoked the names of U.S. journalists and aid workers who were killed by ISIS — although the vast majority of civilians killed by ISIS were Muslims, mostly in Iraq and Syria. Military leaders told the New York Times that al-Baghdadi’s alleged death Saturday came largely in spite of, not because of, President Trump’s recent abrupt withdrawal of some U.S. troops from Syria. Click here for more on al-Baghdadi’s alleged killing.