The feared terrorist leader, Islamic State (IS) leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, died like a coward, "whimpering and crying" when cornered in a dead-end tunnel by US Special Forces in Syria, and will "never again harm an innocent man, woman or child", President Donald Trump announced on Sunday (27 October).
His death on Saturday (26 October) in a US Special Forces operation in the Idlib area of Syria is a setback to the IS for whom he was an inspirational leader, extending its tentacles even into India. As recently as two months ago, he had released an audio urging attacks worldwide by his supporters.
Trump said that the image of him dying like a dog "whimpering and crying" would be an antidote to the propaganda of him being a hero used for recruitment.
The Special Forces flew in on Saturday night to Al-Baghdadi's compound and blasted their way through killing his terrorists and he ran into the tunnel with his three children pursued by the soldiers and a dog, Trump said in a special address from the White House in Washington.
When he found there was no escape, the terrorist leader set off his suicide vest, killing himself and his three children collapsing the tunnel, Trump said.
The only casualty on the US side was a "beautiful, talented dog" that was injured in the blast when it chased him into the tunnel, he added.
As the calipate he set up in Syria collapsed in March under attacks from Kurdish fighters backed by the US and by others, Al-Baghdadi was on the run.
The self-styled Caliph, who was in his late 40s and carried a bounty of at least $25 million, presided over the brutal caliphate he set up in Syria and Iraq enforcing a fundamentalist code and killing thousands.
The US operation was watched live by Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and top defence and officials in the White House situation room.
Trump said that al-Baghdadi "was vicious and violent, and he died in a vicious and violent way, as a coward, running and crying. This raid was impeccable, and could only have taken place with the acknowledgement and help of certain other nations and people."
He said that Russia, Syria, Iraq and Turkey cooperated with the US in the operation without being told what its goal was. The Kurds provided important intelligence, he added.
(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.)
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