UPDATE: President Trump delivered remarks LIVE at 9:00 a.m. ET.
The United States has carried out an operation targeting Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL or ISIS) leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, US officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, have told news agencies.
A US official told The Associated Press that the ISIL leader was targeted in Syria’s Idlib province. Another US official confirmed to Reuters news agency that the operation took place but did not disclose details and did not say whether it was successful.
Newsweek, citing a US Army official briefed on the result of the operation, said al-Baghdadi was killed in the raid.
US President Donald Trump plans to make a “major statement” at the White House at 9 am EST (1300 GMT) on Sunday, White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said on Saturday.
Earlier, Trump tweeted: “Something very big has just happened!”
The US raid was carried out in Barisha, a small village in northwestern Syria near the border with Turkey, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), a war monitor.
Al Jazeera’s Alaa Eddine Youssef, reporting from Barisha, said eight US helicopters took part in the operation which lasted for about 90 minutes.
“Search-and-rescue teams are still in the area in an attempt to find out what happened,” he said.
“Many were killed and injured, many vehicles were also destroyed. No cameras are allowed in until all the search and investigation efforts are completed.”
Source: Al Jazeera, CNN, Reuters