ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Media in the United States reported that the US military had conducted an operation against the leader of the so-called Islamic State, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
CNN cited US officials who said special forces conducted a raid against Baghdadi in the northern Syrian province of Idlib late on Saturday. It also said the CIA “assisted” in locating the fugitive.
In a tweet at around 4:30 a.m. Erbil time, US President Donald Trump wrote, “Something very big has just happened!”
Something very big has just happened!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 27, 2019
The White House, meanwhile, said Trump would make a “major statement” on Sunday, without providing further details.
US media cited various anonymous sources who suggested an operation took place in Idlib but did not verify if the Islamic State leader was dead.
“The final confirmation is pending while DNA and biometric testing is conducted,” CNN reported, citing a US defense official.
Mazloum Abdi, General Commander of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), America’s key ally in the war against the Islamic State in Syria, wrote on Twitter that a “successful and historical operation” has taken place due to joint intelligence with the US.
Successful& historical operation due to a joint intelligence work with the United States of America.— Mazloum Abdî مظلوم عبدي (@MazloumAbdi) October 27, 2019
Two Iranian officials and two Iraqi security sources told Reuters that Tehran and Baghdad were informed of Baghdadi’s death, respectively.
Reuters also said the terror group’s leader was killed along with his bodyguard and two wives.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said nine people believed to be Islamic State members were killed in Idlib.
Footage published on Iraqi media showed the aftermath of the US air raid on the Barisha village, located in northwest Syria.
Baghdadi has been mistakenly reported dead several times over the past years.
In April, the Islamic State leader released a propaganda video calling on the group’s supporters to keep fighting.