The world’s most wanted terrorist, Islamic State group leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, was killed in a U.S.-led raid in northwestern Syria, President Donald Trump announced Sunday.
Addressing the nation live from the White House, Trump said al-Baghdadi killed himself and three of his children, detonating a suicide vest as U.S. forces closed in after a "dangerous and daring" raid.
Trump said he died "whimpering and and crying and screaming all the way."
"He was a sick and depraved man," the president added, "and now he's gone."
Reports of al-Baghdadi's death had swirled on social media, with Trump himself appearing to hint at the the news late Saturday.
Trump personally approved the operation, according to two people familiar with the matter.
The death of al-Baghdadi brings an end to years of searching and speculation.
Detained by U.S. forces in Iraq in 2004, al-Baghdadi has led ISIS since 2010. He stood at the pulpit of the great medieval mosque in Mosul in 2014 to declare himself caliph, sovereign over all Muslims.
But with a $25 million U.S. bounty on his head, he had not been seen for five years.
Until April, when the group released an 18-minute video in which a bearded man resembling al-Baghdadi appeared sitting cross-legged on the ground with an assault-style weapon propped up against a wall and praised terrorists who carried out Easter bombings of churches in Sri Lanka.
For years, reports have circulated questioning whether al-Baghdadi is alive.