Donald Trump gave journalists a blow-by-blow account of how US forces killed Islamic State leader Abu bakr al Baghdadi.
Here is the US president’s description of the “very successful” raid:
US intelligence services had been watching him for two weeks. Two or three planned attacks were called off because al Baghdadi kept on the move and often changed his plans “on a dime”.
Eight helicopters transported a “large crew” of special operations forces into northestern Syria, where they “executed a dangerous and daring night-time raid”.
The flight lasted an hour and 10 minutes. They went in “very, very low and very, very fast”.
The aircraft were fired on by local forces as they came in, which were “immediately terminated”.
After landing, they blew holes in the side of the building to gain entry, as they worried the main entrance was booby-trapped.
Al Baghdadi died after running into a dead-end tunnel, “whimpering and crying and screaming”.
The compound had been cleared by this time, with people either surrendering or being shot and killed.
Eleven young children were moved out of the house unhurt.
Al Baghdadi dragged three of his young children with him to certain death in the tunnel.
As he reached the end of the tunnel, with US dogs chasing him down, he detonated his bomb vest, killing himself and the three children.
Even though his body was mutilated by the blast, DNA tests gave “certain and positive identification”.
No US personnel were lost in the operation, while a large number of Baghdadi’s fighters and companions were killed with him and one of the US’s dogs was injured.
US forces spent around two hours in the compound and removed “highly sensitive material and information”.
Washington received help from Russia, Turkey, Syria, Iraq and the Syrian Kurds.
Russia and Turkey allowed the raid to fly over their territory.
The president posted a tweet saying “something big has happened” after the team landed overnight as, he said, he didn’t want “you people” [reporters] to be “out playing golf or tennis”.