A “high value ISIS target” believed to be the group’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, has been killed by US-led forces in Idlib, Syria, a well-placed military source told Fox News on Saturday night.
The US Army would not confirm the identity of the deceased target.
A defense official told CNN that it appears that al-Baghdadi detonated a suicide vest during the raid.
The final confirmation is pending while DNA and biometric testing is conducted, sources told the network.
The reports of the ISIS leader’s death followed a tweet by US President Donald Trump on Saturday night, in which he only wrote, “Something very big has just happened!” without providing details.
Something very big has just happened!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 27, 2019
Shortly thereafter, the White House said that Trump would make an announcement on Sunday morning at 9:00 a.m. local time (3:00 p.m. Israel time) that will include “a major statement.”
The White House did not specify what topic or event the president will be speaking on.
There have been conflicting reports about Baghdadi’s fate in recent years. A year ago, it was reported that he was still alive, but that injury and poor health had forced him to relinquish control of the terror group.
In 2017, Russia claimed that the ISIS leader might have been among a group of ISIS members who were killed in a Russian air strike south of Raqqa, the group’s former de facto capital in Syria.
US officials have remained skeptical over reports of Baghdadi’s death. Former US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said in July of 2017 he assumes that Baghdadi is still alive.
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