MOSUL, IRAQ - JULY 5 : An image grab taken from a
An image grab taken from a video released on July 5, 2014 by Al-Furqan Media shows alleged Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi preaching during Friday prayer at a mosque in Mosul.(Photo by Al-Furqan Media/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

  • Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was targeted in a strike by US Special Operations Forces in Syria on Saturday. and is believed to be dead, according to multiple reports.
  • The ISIS leader is believed to have detonated a suicide vest as a U.S. special mission unit carried out a ground raid in the Idlib province in north-west Syria.
  • Officials are waiting for confirmation of al-Baghdadi's death from biometric and DNA testing, reports said.
  • US President Donald Trump hinted at the announcement last night, tweeting: "Something very big has just happened!"
  • Trump is due to make an announcement early evening South African time.

Isis leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is believed to have been killed in a US military strike in Syria yesterday, according to multiple reports citing US defence officials.

An official told the Associated Press that the Islamic State leader had been targeted in the north-west Syrian province of Idlib.

The official said they could not confirm whether the operation had been successful and did not provide any further details on the raid. Al-Baghdadi has previously been falsely reported to have been killed.

But three US officials told ABC News that the ISIS leader is believed to be dead.

Newsweek also reported that the US Defence Department told the White House it had "high confidence" that al-Baghdadi had been killed in the raid after detonating a suicide vest, citing a senior official who was familiar with the investigation.

The report said, however, that full verification was pending DNA and biometric testing.

The ground raid was carried out by US special operations forces after they received "actionable evidence," Newsweek said.

The White House has not confirmed whether the operation took place, but said last night that US President Donald Trump would make a "major statement" on Sunday morning.

"The President of the United States will be making a major statement tomorrow morning at 9 o'clock," said Hogan Gidley, the White House deputy press secretary. That is 6PM South African time.

Trump hinted at the announcement last night, tweeting: "Something very big has just happened!"

Al-Baghdadi has been in hiding for the last five years, becoming one of the world's most hunted individuals, with the United States has placed a $25 million bounty – around R375 million – on his head in 2016.

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