Washington: The death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the fugitive emir of ISIS, during a raid on his hideout by the US Special Forces in Northwest Syria is a "great day" for America and people all across the world, according to senior Trump administration officials.
Baghdadi, the leader of the jihadist group and arguably the world's most wanted man, killed himself during a raid by US commandos on Saturday, US President Donald Trump announced on Sunday.
The self-styled "Caliph Ibrahim" had a $25 million bounty on his head and had been pursued by the US and its allies since the rise of ISIS five years ago. Baghdadi was born in 1971 in the central Iraqi city of Samarra.
Baghdadi's death marks the end of a years-long hunt to find one of the most wanted terrorists in the world and the man who declared a so-called Islamic caliphate in Iraq and Syria in 2014.
Reacting to the death of Baghdadi, US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said it was a major victory in the enduring mission to defeat the dreaded terror group.
Esper, who was part of a small group of officials who were aware of the top-secret operation and watched the raid live form the Situation Room of the White House, said, "This is a great day for America and a great day for the world."
In a statement, the US defence secretary said, "With our partners we defeated the physical caliphate of ISIS earlier this year and now its founder and leader is dead. This is a major victory in the enduring defeat ISIS mission."
In a separate statement, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said, Baghdadi "met the fate that he long-deserved", taken down during a raid on his hideout, he said.
"While there is still work left to do to ensure ISIS's enduring defeat, Baghdadi's death follows the path of scores of other ISIS leaders that have been removed from the battlefield and can no longer commit heinous atrocities or spread their vile ideology of hatred to poison and recruit vulnerable minds.
At its peak, the ISIS controlled some 88,000 sq km of territory stretching from Western Syria to Eastern Iraq, imposed its brutal rule on almost eight million people, and generated billions of dollars in revenue from oil, extortion and kidnapping.