Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the elusive chief of the Islamic State, has been killed in a raid conducted by the US special operations commandos in northwest Syria on Saturday, US media reported on Sunday. Citing a senior US defence official and a source with knowledge, CNN reported that the final confirmation is pending while DNA and biometric testing is conducted.
"It appears that Baghdadi detonated a suicide vest during the raid," the defense official was quoted as saying. "The CIA assisted in locating him."
Meanwhile, White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley said that President Donald Trump will make a major announcement on Sunday morning.
Quoting an administration official, CNN said that the announcement is foreign policy related.
"Something very big has just happened!" Trump earlier tweeted, without elaborating.
Newsweek first reported that the world's most wanted man was believed to have been killed.
Baghdadi, the self-proclaimed Caliph, has made only one public appearance, in July 2014, in the al-Nuri Mosque in Mosul, announcing the birth of Islamic State's much-feared "caliphate" across swathes of Iraq and Syria. The mosque was retaken by Iraqi security forces in June 2017.
In April this year, he appeared for the first time in five years in a propaganda video released by the jihadist organisation. In the video, he referred to the battle of Baghouz, which ended in March.