The fugitive leader of the Islamic State (IS) group killed himself during a US military operation in north-west Syria, President Donald Trump has said.
Speaking from the White House, Mr. Trump said Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi detonated his suicide vest after fleeing into a tunnel, chased by US military dogs.
Baghdadi came to prominence in 2014, when he announced the creation of a "caliphate" in areas of Iraq and Syria. IS carried out multiple atrocities that resulted in thousands of deaths.
The jihadist group imposed a brutal rule in the areas under its control and was behind many attacks around the world. Although the US declared the "caliphate" defeated earlier this year, IS militants remain active in the region and elsewhere.
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's top aide Ismael al-Ethawi gave valuable information about the ISIS leader's movements and places where he used to hide, Iraqi intelligence officials have revealed. Sometimes Baghdadi held strategy talks in moving minibusses packed with vegetables in order to avoid detection, Ethawi told officials after he arrested by Turkish authorities and handed to the Iraqis.
Baghdadi's death is a major victory for Mr. Trump as he faces heavy criticism for his decision to pull US troops out of northern Syria and fights an impeachment inquiry launched by Democrats.