President Donald Trump announced on Sunday that the shadowy leader of the Islamic State group Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi had died in a raid by US Special Forces in northwest Syria, in a major blow to the jihadist group.
“Last night, the United States brought the world’s number one terrorist leader to justice,” Trump announced at the White House. “Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is dead.”
Baghdadi killed himself during the raid by detonating a suicide vest, Trump said in a televised address from the White House.
Trump said "many" of Baghdadi's people were killed in the raid and added that in blowing himself up, Baghdadi also killed three of his children.
Al-Baghdadi’s identity was confirmed by a DNA test conducted onsite, Trump said.
Trump's national security adviser, Robert O'Brien, said al-Baghdadi's remains would be dealt with in accordance with Islamic law and buried at sea in the same way that bin Laden's were.
Defense Secretary Mark Esper said the mission was to capture or kill the IS group leader. While Trump had initially said no Americans were injured, Esper said two service members suffered minor injuries but have already returned to duty. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said a military dog chasing al-Baghdadi was seriously wounded by an explosive blast.
The commander of the Syrian Kurdish-led forces says five months of joint intelligence cooperation with the US-led coalition led to the killing of the leader of the Islamic State group.
Mazloum Abdi said in a tweet Sunday that the reported killing of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi took place in a joint operation following ``cooperation on the ground and accurate monitoring'' for five months. He called it a ``successful and historic'' joint intelligence work with the US
The US raid with helicopters took place in the Barisha area north of Idlib city a few kilometers from the Turkish border.
The Kurdish-led forces cooperated with the US-coalition for at least four years to fight IS group in Syria until they declared military victory against the group in March.
Here are reactions to the announcement:
Joe Biden, contender for the Democratic nomination to face Trump in the 2020 election:
Republican Senator Lindsay Graham, speaking at the White House:
"What the president said today was very reassuring to me --that when it comes to ISIS and other terrorists groups, we're coming after you, wherever you go, as long as it takes to protect our country and our way of life."
US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, criticized Trump not notifying US Congressional leadership prior to the raid. She also said in a statement:
US Senator Mitt Romney, a Republican and regular critic of Trump, on Twitter:
"Al Baghdadi spread 'fire and brimstone' on earth; now he feels it for himself in hell. To all who arranged his change of venue—the intel officers, the President, the warriors—thank you."
Major-General Igor Konashenkov, quoted by RIA news agency:
"The Russian Ministry of Defence does not have reliable information on the operation by US servicemen... on yet another 'elimination' of former IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi."
Konstantin Kosachyov, chairman of upper house of parliament's foreign affairs committee, to Interfax news agency:
"... Last respects have been paid to al-Baghdadi at least five times in the past. (Also) countering terrorism is a much more difficult task than the physical destruction of its leaders, even the most irreconcilable."
French President Emmanuel Macron said the death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is a hard blow for Islamic State group but that it is just a stage in the fight against the organisation.
"Al-Baghdadi's death is a hard blow against Islamic State, but it is just a stage. With our partners in the international coalition, the fight continues to finally defeat this terrorist organisation. It is our priority in the Middle East," Macron said on his Twitter feed.
French Defence Minister Florence Parly on Twitter:
"Baghdadi: early retirement for a terrorist, but not for his organisation. I congratulate our American allies with this operation. My thoughts today are for all the victims of the madness of Bagdhadi and the criminals who have followed him."
Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Twitter:
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, on Twitter:
Iraqi government statement:
"Following extensive work by a dedicated team for over a year, Iraq’s National Intelligence Service was able to accurately pinpoint the hideout of the terrorist Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi in the Syrian province of Idlib.
"Subsequently, US forces, in coordination with Iraq’s National Intelligence Service, carried out an operation which led to the elimination of the terrorist Al-Baghdadi.
"Iraq’s Armed Forces and intelligence services will continue to work with Iraq’s partners in the @coalition to relentlessly pursue Daesh (Islamic State) terrorists and to defeat their ideology."
Iranian government spokesman Ali Rabiei tweeted: "The killing of Baghdadi will not end Daesh (Islamic State) and its ideology ... which was created and flourished with the help of regional petrodollars."
And the Information Minister Mohammad Javad Azari-Jahromi, tweeted: "Not a big deal, You just killed your creature" (accusing the United States, its longtime foe, of creating Islamic State)
Also on Sunday, hard-liner Abdollah Ganji suggested that the killing of Baghdadi will be a key issue in next year's US presidential election.
The editor-in-chief of the hard-line Javan newspaper said: ``Why are they being killed in the run-up to the US presidential election?''
President Tayyip Erdogan, said on Twitter: "The killing of Daesh’s ringleader marks a turning point in our joint fight against terrorism. Turkey will continue to support anti-terror efforts — as it has done in the past."
"I am confident that a decisive struggle against terrorism, in line with the spirit of alliance, will bring peace to all of humanity."
Senior aide to President Erdogan, Fahrettin Altun, in statement to Reuters: "Turkey was proud to help the United States, our NATO ally, bring a notorious terrorist to justice ... We remember today Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's civilian victims and our military heroes, who lost their lives to protect the world from Daesh (Islamic State) terrorists.
"Turkey, which has been a bulwark against terrorism, will continue to work closely with the United States and others to combat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. It is time to join forces and defeat all terrorist groups operating in the region without further delay."
Bahrain Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa said on Sunday on his Twitter account that the death of Islamic State group leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was a fatal blow to the group.
Also, numbers of US presidential candidates have shared their reactions to the death of Islamic State group leader:
Former Maryland representative John Delaney
Sen. Bernie Sanders
Sen. Elizabeth Warren
Sen. Amy Klobuchar