Washington: US President Donald Trump confirmed that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State (IS) terror group, is dead. He was killed by the US special forces in a raid in northwest Syria on Saturday.

“Last night the United States brought the world's number one terrorist leader to justice. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is dead. He was the founder and leader of ISIS, the most ruthless and violent terror organisation anywhere in the world,” Trump said in a press conference at the White House in Washington on Sunday.

"He was the founder and leader of ISIS. The most ruthless and violent terror organization anywhere in the world. The United States has been searching for Baghdadi for many years. Capturing or killing Baghdadi has been the top national security priority of my administration," the US president added.

Despite being hunted by the world's best intelligence agencies and the US authorities offering a whopping USD 25 million reward for information leading to his capture, Baghdadi has proved to be incredibly elusive.

Baghdadi joined Al-Qaeda in Iraq, which merged with other Islamist groups to form the Islamic State of Iraq. He became the group's leader in 2010 after his predecessor was killed by US forces.

He renamed the group to the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant, widely known as ISIL or ISIS in 2013 and announced his "caliphate" in 2014.