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ISIS leader killed himself during US airstrike in Syria (war monitor)

UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — A US-led airstrike that targeted the hideout of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, leader of the Islamic State (IS) militant group, in Syria’s northwestern province of Idlib was intended to capture him alive before the IS leader detonated his explosive vest, a war monitor reported Sunday.

The operation, carried out by eight helicopters and warplanes, led to the killing of nine people, including al-Baghdadi himself, his wife and a number of children, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Al-Baghdadi was hiding in the house in the west of the village of Barisha in Idlib, the London-based watchdog added.

Citing eyewitnesses, the Observatory said the US troops pulled out a body after the operation, which is likely to be al-Baghdadi’s.

US media also said al-Baghdadi was killed in the operation in Syria as President Donald Trump is expected to make a statement later in the day.

Meanwhile, the pan-Arab al-Mayadeen TV cited Iraqi sources as saying the Iraqi intelligence provided vital information that helped pinpoint the location of al-Baghdadi.

The Iraqi official TV aired video footage showing a big hole in the ground and a levelled house purporting to be the aftermath of the airstrike.

Al-Baghdadi was said to have been wounded on March 18 2015 during a US-led coalition airstrike on the al-Baaj District in the northern province of Nineveh near the Syrian border.

His wounds were apparently so serious that the top IS leaders had a meeting to discuss who would replace al-Baghdadi if he died.

His latest appearance was in an 18-minute video posted online in April by IS media, in which al-Baghdadi vowed to continue fighting despite the loss of his group’s self-proclaimed caliphate in Iraq and Syria.

Al-Baghdadi, 48, whose real name is Ibrahim Awad al-Badri announced the establishment of a caliphate, or the so-called Islamic State, in June 2014.

In 2016, the US State of Department offered a reward of up to 25 million US dollars for information leading to his capture or death.

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