ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi reportedly killed in Syria

ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi reportedly killed in Syria

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the caliphate leader of the notorious fundamentalist Muslim terrorist organization ISIS, has reportedly been killed in Syria.

A number of military officials are reported as claiming that American special forces carried out a strike in which they targeted the ISIS leader in the northern province of Idlib late on Saturday. Confirmation of al-Baghdadi's death is still pending, but if true, this would be a major blow to the group.

An image of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Credit: PA Images

According to a report by CNN, a senior US military official claimed that that al-Baghdadi detonated a suicide vest when attacked by Delta Force. The operation to take down the ISIS leader lasted for approximately two hours, and involved choppers, planes and ground forces.

According to BBC News, The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that helicopters were deployed near the town of Barisha, just five miles from the Turkish border, at midnight on Saturday, October 26. The choppers targeted ISIS fighters with heavy strikes for about 120 minutes, with the jihadists attempting to repel the aircraft with heavy weapons.

Western intelligence agencies believed that al-Baghdadi had gone into hiding somewhere in either Iraq or Syria, and he has still managed to release occasional audio and video messages to supporters around the world.

ISIS has been coming closer and closer to collapse, with many fighters and key figures having now been either killed or captured, its grip on Syria and parts of Iraq has been severely weakened over the years.

The ruined city of Mosul, Syria. Credit: PA Images

President Donald Trump appeared to tease the death of al-Baghdadi on social media himself, taking to Twitter to write simply: "Something very big has just happened!" However, the Republican leader has not yet confirmed or denied if this cryptic statement was meant to be a reference to the death of the ISIS leader or not.