NEW YORK - The man who would have likely become the next leader of the Islamic State in the wake of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's death was killed by U.S. soldiers, according to President Donald Trump.
The President tweeted the announcement Tuesday morning.
"Just confirmed that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s number one replacement has been terminated by American troops. Most likely would have taken the top spot - Now he is also Dead!
Leader of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi!
Trump did not specify who he was referring to.
The death of al-Baghdadi was a milestone in the fight against IS, which brutalized swaths of Syria and Iraq and sought to direct a global terrorism campaign from a self-declared "caliphate." A yearslong campaign by American and allied forces led to the recapture of the group's territorial holding, but its violent ideology has continued to inspire attacks.
As U.S. troops bore down on al-Baghdadi, he fled into a "dead-end" tunnel with three of his children, Trump said Sunday, and detonated a suicide vest. "He was a sick and depraved man, and now he's gone," Trump said. "He died like a dog, he died like a coward."
Al-Baghdadi's identity was confirmed by a DNA test conducted onsite, Trump said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.