WASHINGTON — On early Sunday, US media organization CNN has reported that Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghadi was thought to be dead following a US military raid in the northwestern part of Syria.
Baghadi may have killed himself with a suicide vest as U.S special operations forces approached, the CNN media reported citing multiple sources of government.
Officials said Baghadi was the target of a secretly-planned operation approved by US President Donald Trump.
Baghadi, long pursued by the US-led coalition against Islamic State (IS), has been misreported several times dead in recent years.
Officials also told ABC News that there was biometric work going on to strengthen the identification of those who were killed in the raid.
The White House announced that Trump would make a “major statement” Sunday at 9 a.m. without giving any details.
Baghadi, a 48-years-old native of Iraq, has turned the violent jihadist movement into a powerful force, setting up its own “caliphate” territory in 2014 across large swathes of Syria and Iraq.
The United States offered a reward of $25 million for details about his whereabouts.
In this year’s unprecedented video and audio messages, Baghadi called on IS militants to regroup and seek to liberate thousands of their comrades captured throughout northeastern Syria by the US-allied Syrian Democratic Forces. (Marian Andrei Sinamban/IAmigo/CNS)