Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi blew himself up rather than be captured by US special forces as he was chased down by military dogs in a network of tunnels beneath his home.
The jihadist who once ruled millions of people across a huge swathe of Syria and Iraq died a violent death far from his days as a caliph with just a handful of followers and family.
Baghdadi was feared for his brutal rule that saw Western captives beheaded, women abused and tortured and men objecting to his methods executed.
But he suffered a catastrophic defeat at the hands of superior firepower and technology amassed by nations that had suffered from ISIS terror tactics to join the US in a bitter fight that saw his self-proclaimed kingdom wiped from the map.
Baghdadi has a $25 million price on his head and had been on the run for five years.
Tackled by dogs
He holed up outside the village of Barisha, a few miles from the Syrian border with Turkey.
The complex included a network of tunnels and bunkers.
Six Chinook helicopters joined the night time raid that blasted the darkness with rockets and machine guns.
US President Donald Trump said: “Baghdadi retreated into a tunnel with three of his children during the raid and then detonated an explosive vest when US military dogs were sent in to tackle him. He killed himself and the children. Baghdadi’s body was mutilated by the blast, but test results gave certain and positive identification.
Is ISIS finished?
“A brutal killer, one who has caused so much hardship and death, was violently eliminated – he will never again harm another innocent man, woman or child. He died like a dog. He died like a coward. The world is now a much safer place.”
It’s yet to be seen if Baghdadi’s death means the end of ISIS or if another terrorist movement is spawned from his demise, like ISIS followed Al-Qaeda when Osama Bin laden was killed.
The leadership of ISIS is reported to have passed to Al-Haj Abdullah Qardash, although Trump has stated Baghdadi’s number one replacement was also killed by US forces.