Leader of ISIS 'dead after US raid' in Syria
The leader of the Islamic State terrorist group has killed himself during a US military operation in north-west Syria.
US President Donald Trump told press outside the White House that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who came to prominence in Iraq and Syria in 2014, detonated his suicide vest after fleeing into a tunnel, chased by US military dogs. It is believed that the detonation also killed three of his children. No US military personnel were killed in the event.
Baghdadi's death is being seen as a major victory for the US, UK and all of their allies, at a time when Trump faces heavy criticism for his decision to pull US troops out of northern Syria.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said: “The death of Baghdadi is a significant milestone in the coalition’s work to defeat Daesh but it is not the end of the threat. Daesh has imposed terrible suffering on innocent civilians. The UK will continue to work with our international partners to bring this to an end.”
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “ISIS is one of the most murderous terrorist organisations of our generation. Their leaders have twisted Islam to groom thousands of people into joining their evil cause. I welcome the action that has been taken. The world will not miss Al-Baghdadi. The UK has played a leading role in the Global Coalition Against Daesh, working hand in hand with international partners to defeat the group and we will continue to do so.”
Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces have also claimed that bu al-Hassan al-Muhajir, considered as Baghdadi's right-hand man, had been killed in a separate joint operation with the US military near the northern Syrian town of Jarablus.