US President Donald Trump has confirmed the death of ISIL leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in a military operation in Syria's northwestern Idlib province, saying the US had "brought the world's number one terrorist leader to justice".
Trump said on Sunday the ISIL leader died after running into a dead-end tunnel in the village of Barisha and ignited an explosive vest during the raid, killing himself along with three of his children. A large number of his companions were also killed in the raid, he said during the address at the White House.
Al-Baghdadi's 11 other children were "uninjured", Trump said, and were left under the care of an unnamed third party.
Speaking from the White House's Diplomatic Room, the president said that al-Baghdadi spent his last moments in utter fear and claims that he was "whimpering" and died as "a coward, running and crying."
According to him, the US received immediate and positive identification on the body after an on-site DNA test, and that the world is now a much safer place.
"His body was mutilated by the blast. The tunnel had caved in on it in addition. But test results gave certain immediate and totally positive identification. It was him," Trump told reporters.
"The thug who tried so hard to intimidate others spent his last moments in utter fear, in total panic and dread, terrified of the American forces bearing down on him," Trump continued.
No US troops were injured in the operation, the US president said, adding that sensitive information was taken from the compound by US Special Forces.
Trump also warned that al-Baghdadi's successors are now in US "sights".