Amid reports that the ISIS chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi had been killed in a top-secret operation, US President Donald Trump plans to make a major statement at the White House at 6:30 PM IST on Sunday.
According to Newsweek, the United States military conducted a special operations raid targeting one of its most high-value targets, al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State militant group. Trump had approved the mission nearly a week before it took place.
Meanwhile, CNN quoted a senior defence official as saying that Baghdadi is believed to have detonated a suicide vest during the raid.
White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said the US president plans to make a major statement at the White House at 9 am EST (6:30 PM IST) on Sunday. However, Gidley gave no further details and it was unclear on what Trump’s statement would be.
The President gave an indication that something was afoot earlier on Saturday night when he tweeted without explanation, “Something very big has just happened!”
Something very big has just happened!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 27, 2019
Trump has been frustrated by the US news media’s heavy focus on the Democratic-led impeachment inquiry, which he calls an illegitimate witch hunt.
He has also faced withering criticism from both Republicans and Democrats alike for his US troop withdrawal from northeastern Syria, which permitted Turkey to attack America’s Kurdish allies.
Trump was expected to make the statement in the White House Diplomatic Reception Room, which he has used to make a number of major announcements. Just last week, he used the same room to announce that a ceasefire between Turkey and the Kurds had taken place.