US President Donald Trump says Daesh leader Abu Bakr Baghdadi blew himself up, dying “like a dog,” and “like a coward” after American forces trapped him inside a dead-end tunnel.
“Last night the United States brought the world’s number one terrorist leader to justice,” Trump said while addressing the media at the White House on Sunday.
The president said the Baghdadi detonated his suicide vest while “crying and whimping” during an overnight raid by American special ops forces in Syria.
He said the explosion was so strong that al-Bghdadi’s body was “mutilated” and the tunnel was destroyed but forensics teams were able to identify his remains.
“He reached the end of the tunnel as our dogs chased him down. He ignited his vest, killing himself and his three children. His body was mutilated by the blasts. The tunnel had caved on him,” Trump claimed.
Al-Baghdadi’s identity was confirmed by on-site DNA tests “15 minutes” after he was killed, Trump said, adding, the tests provided “certain, immediate and totally positive” identification that the body belonged to the terrorist chief the US has hunted for so long.
“The thug who tried so hard to intimidate others spent his last moments in utter fear, panic and dread, terrified of the American forces coming down on him,” he continued.
He noted that many of al-Baghdadi’s “people” were killed in the operation but no American soldiers were killed or injured.
Trump said he watched the operation alongside Vice President Mike Pence, Defense Secretary Mark Esper and a few others.
He marveled to reporters about the quality of the video feed, saying it was “like a movie.”
Trump also thanked Russia, Turkey, Iraq and Syria as well as Syrian Kurds for helping with the operation.
The American head of state claimed that Moscow “did not know the nature” of the mission, but was informed ahead that it was going to happen.