Trump To Make Mystery 'Major Statement' Amid Speculation Of ISIS Leader's Death
Multiple outlets are reporting the leader of ISIS has been captured or killed in Syria, as Donald Trump is poised to make a "major statement" after he tweeted: "Something very big has just happened!".
White House spokesman Hogan Gidley says the announcement will be made at 9am on Sunday local time (midnight AEDT). Gidley gave no further details, and it was unclear what the topic of Trump's statement might be.
There was speculation, however, that Trump might have news about Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the elusive militant who has been the subject of an international manhunt for years.
Multiple news outlets have reported that the ISIS leader has been killed in a US military strike in Syria's Idlib province, in the north-east of the country.
Al-Baghdadi has been leader of the ISIS terrorist group since 2010.
The president gave an indication that something was afoot earlier on Saturday night when he tweeted without explanation, "Something very big has just happened!"
The publication Newsweek later reported that a U.S. military incursion -- involving helicopters -- had been carried out on Saturday night, with a "high value" target killed. Further verification was being carried out to conclude the person killed was al-Baghdadi.
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 hold.
More to come.