Donald Trump has confirmed ISIS mastermind Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has been “obliterated” and spent his final moments in “utter fear, total panic and dread”.
It follows a “dangerous and daring” raid by US special forces overnight in Syria that saw personnel dodge booby traps and accomplish the mission “in grand style”.
The US President announced the “brutal killer’s” death this afternoon at a press conference held at The White House.
He said “running and crying coward” Baghdadi detonated a suicide vest, killing himself and three innocent children who he had dragged into a tunnel.
Trump added that the thug’s body had been “mutilated” by the blast, but test results from the aftermath of the raid had positively identified him.
“Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is dead,” said the gleeful president.
“He died like a dog, he died like a coward. The world is now a much safer place.
“He was a sick and depraved man and now he’s gone.”
He added that Baghdadi was chased by dogs through a dead-end tunnel “whimpering, screaming and crying”.
He then detonated a suicide vest killing himself and the three kids.
“They were led to certain death,” said Trump, condemning Baghdadi’s actions.
Eleven children had earlier been moved out of the house and were uninjured.
Others at the compound surrendered, were shot or killed.
Trump said he got to “watch much” of the mission unfold and compared it to a movie.
He also revealed highly-sensitive material and information about ISIS, including its future plans, had been removed from the compound.
“The thug who tried so hard to intimidate others spent his last moments in utter fear, panic and dread, terrified of the American forces bearing down on him,” said the president.
“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.
“A brutal killer, one who has caused so much hardship and death, has violently been eliminated. He will never again harm another innocent man, woman or child.”
Two of Baghdadi’s wives, who were wearing suicide vests, were among the dead, he added.
Trump earlier posted a cryptic tweet which said: “Something very big has just happened!”
Islamic State leader Baghdadi, described as “one of the most evil men in history”, had spent years in hiding after a $25million bounty was placed on his head.
The hate-filled 47-year-old inspired atrocities and spread poisonous messages encouraging violence, such as the Manchester Arena bombing.
Trump this afternoon praised the US personnel, none who were injured, for their “incredible” work.
He said the mission had been top secret and they had been able to scope out the whereabouts of the “world’s number one terrorist leader” a couple of weeks ago.
They kept him under surveillance and observed how he would “constantly change his mind” regarding his movements.
Trump also described Baghdadi as the leader of the “most ruthless and violent terror organisation” who the US had spent many years searching for.
A “capture or kill” mission had become a top national security priority.
A large number of Baghdadi’s accomplices were also killed in the raid, which is believed to have been caught in dramatic footage.
A “large crew of US fighters” ran out of eight helicopters and blew holes into the side of a building.
Several explosions can be seen and heard in the clip filmed in darkness and released this morning by Syrian activists.
A huge fireball erupts in the sky followed by a cloud of smoke and several deafening bangs.
There is then deadly silence.