US President Donald Trump confirms death of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi

President Donald Trump say elusive Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was killed, dying “like a dog,” in a daring, nighttime raid by US special forces deep in northwest Syria.

Trump told the nation in a televised address from the White House that US forces killed a “large number” of Islamic State militants during the raid which culminated in cornering Baghdadi in a tunnel, where he set off a suicide vest.

Trump said that the raid which required flying more than an hour by helicopter in both directions from an undisclosed base had been accomplished by help from Russia, Syria, Turkey and Iraq.

Special Forces executed a dangerous and daring nighttime raid in northwestern Syria and accomplished their mission in grand style.

At its height, Islamic State-controlled swaths of Iraq and Syria in a self-declared state known as a caliphate, characterized by the brutal imposition of a puritanical version of Islam.

The death of Baghdadi comes as a big boost for Trump, whose abrupt decision to withdraw a small but effective deployment of US forces from Syria caused fears that it would give Islamic State remnants and sleeper cells a chance to regroup.