WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - US President Donald Trump announced on Sunday (Oct 27) that fugitive Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi had died in a raid by US special forces in north-west Syria, in a major blow to the jihadist group.
Baghdadi killed himself during the raid by detonating a suicide vest, Trump said in a televised address from the White House.
Here are reactions to the announcement:
Joe Biden, contender for the Democratic nomination to face Trump in the 2020 election: “We cannot afford to get distracted or take our eye off the target. ISIS remains a threat to the American people and our allies, and we must keep up the pressure to prevent ISIS from ever regrouping or again threatening the United States.”
Republican Senator Lindsay Graham, speaking at the White House: “What the President said today was very reassuring to me –that when it comes to ISIS and other terrorists groups, we’re coming after you, wherever you go, as long as it takes to protect our country and our way of life.”
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Twitter: "The death of Baghdadi is an important moment in our fight against terror but the battle against the evil of Daesh (Islamic State) is not yet over. We will work with our coalition partners to bring an end to the murderous, barbaric activities of Daesh once and for all."
French Defence Minister Florence Parly on Twitter: “Baghdadi: early retirement for a terrorist, but not for his organisation. I congratulate our American allies with this operation. My thoughts thoughts today are for all the victims of the madness of Bagdhadi and the criminals who have followed him.”
Senior aide to Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, Fahrettin Altun, in a statement to Reuters: "Turkey was proud to help the United States, our NATO ally, bring a notorious terrorist to justice... We remember today Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's civilian victims and our military heroes, who lost their lives to protect the world from Daesh (Islamic State) terrorists."
"Turkey, which has been a bulwark against terrorism, will continue to work closely with the United States and others to combat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.
"It is time to join forces and defeat all terrorist groups operating in the region without further delay."
Statement from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: "I would like to congratulate President Trump on the impressive achievement that led to the assassination of the head of (Islamic State) al-Baghdadi. This reflects our shared determination, of the United States of America and of all free countries, to fight terror organisations and terrorist states.
This achievement is an important milestone, but the campaign is still ahead of us."
Major-General Igor Konashenkov, quoted by RIA news agency: “The Russian Ministry of Defence does not have reliable information on the operation by US servicemen... on yet another ‘elimination’ of former IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.”
Konstantin Kosachyov, chairman of upper house of parliament’s foreign affairs committee, to Interfax news agency: “... Last respects have been paid to al-Baghdadi at least five times in the past. (Also) countering terrorism is a much more difficult task than the physical destruction of its leaders, even the most irreconcilable.”
Information Minister Mohammad Javad Azari-Jahromi, accusing the US, its longtime foe, of creating ISIS, said on Twitter: “Not a big deal, You just killed your creature.”
Iraqi government statement: “Following extensive work by a dedicated team for over a year, Iraq’s National Intelligence Service was able to accurately pinpoint the hideout of the terrorist Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi in the Syrian province of Idlib.
“Subsequently, US forces, in coordination with Iraq’s National Intelligence Service, carried out an operation which led to the elimination of the terrorist Al-Baghdadi.
“Iraq’s Armed Forces and intelligence services will continue to work with Iraq’s partners in the @coalition to relentlessly pursue Daesh (Islamic State) terrorists and to defeat their ideology.”