ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is believed to have been killed in a raid conducted by the US military in northwest Syria on Saturday, according to a senior US defense official and a source with knowledge, Donald Trump has announced.
During a press conference on Sunday, Trump said al-Baghdadi had been “under surveillance for a couple of weeks”.
According to the United States’s President, the ISIL chief died after running into a tunnel in the village of Barisha where he detonated an explosive vest, killing himself and three of his children.
World reaction to the news has been divided, with some leaders hailing it as a turning point in the fight against “terrorism” while some governments played down its down significance.
The Russian defence ministry reacted to the news with scepticism, saying “it had no reliable information on the US operation.”
On the other hand, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu labelled the event as an “impressive achievement.” “This achievement is an important milestone, but the campaign is still ahead of us,” the statement of office said.
Iran’s information minister, Mohammed Javad Azari-Jahromi said in a tweet that the killing of al-Baghdadi was “not a big deal. You just killed your creature”. The minister did not elaborate, but Iran has often accused the US of creating ISIL.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and French Defence Minister Florence Parly congratulated the US but also warned the battle against ISIL “is not yet over.”