IS leader died after running into tunnel and igniting explosive vest, says Trump

The leader of so-called Islamic State Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi died after running into a dead-end tunnel and igniting an explosive vest, killing himself and three of his young children, US President Donald Trump has said.

Mr Trump described the US raid in Syria that killed perhaps the world's most wanted man during remarks at the White House's Diplomatic Room.

The president said al-Baghdadi spent his last moments in utter fear and claimed that the IS leader was "whimpering and crying" and died as "a coward, running and crying".

Mr Trump had teased the announcement with a tweet on Saturday night, declaring: "Something very big has just happened!"

President Donald Trump speaks in the Diplomatic Room of the White House in Washington
President Donald Trump makes the announcement at the White House (Andrew Harnik/AP)

He said the US received immediate and positive identification on the body and that the world is now a much safer place.

Mr Trump said that watching the raid that killed al-Baghdadi in Syria as it was under way felt "as though you were watching a movie".

And he suggested that the video be released to the public to dissuade al-Baghdadi's followers.

Mr Trump said he watched much of the mission unfold from the White House Situation Room on Saturday night.

The president said at the White House on Sunday that the US had al-Baghdadi under surveillance for several weeks.

He said that during the raid, US forces flew low and fast, and were met with gunfire at points.

Mr Trump also suggested that the footage of the raid may be released publicly so that the world knows al-Baghdadi spent his final moments "crying", "whimpering" and "screaming".

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