President Donald Trump kept journalists around the world on the edge of their seats on an otherwise typical Saturday night after he posted a cryptic tweet announcing that “something very big has just happened!” at 9:23 Eastern time.
Rampant speculation immediately ensued via social media, with guesses that the news was everything from alien landings to news on the trade war with China.
But according to Fox News, some of the early speculation that the president’s announcement had to do with an earlier raid that took place in Syria seems like a plausible conclusion, as the network reported that “well-placed” military source told the network that a “high-value [Islamic State] target” was killed during a U.S.-led raid in Idlib, Syria on Saturday.
What’s more, the network reported that the potential target of the raid was the head of the Islamic State terrorist group, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. There hasn’t been any confirmation that he has been captured or killed at the time of this writing, but CNN subsequently reported that the intended target of the raid was, in fact, the Islamic State leader, citing a senior U.S. defense official as their source.
The network also reported that the U.S. military was assisted by the Central Intelligence Agency in locating the terrorist mastermind.
Baghdadi has been in hiding for the past five years, though in early 2018, some U.S. officials revealed that he was wounded in an airstrike the previous year with injuries serious enough to reportedly temporarily sideline him as the leader of the Islamic State.
Prior to Fox News’ breaking report, CNBC reported that a White House spokesperson announced that the president would be making a previously unscheduled “major announcement” on Sunday morning at 9 a.m. Eastern time from the Diplomatic Reception Room. CNN confirmed that the announcement is foreign policy-related.
“The President of the United States will be making a major statement tomorrow morning at 9 o’clock from the White House,” said White House spokesman Hogan Gidley about an hour after Trump’s cryptic tweet that set off a firestorm of serious and comical speculation throughout the internet.
The announcement comes on the heels of the president taking fierce criticism for pulling U.S. troops out of northern Syria, which allowed Turkish military forces to wage a planned military assault on the area against U.S.-friendly Kurdish forces.
As reported previously by The Inquisitr, a number of experts and politicians slammed the president’s move, warning of the potential for Islamic State prisoners to escape from prisons guarded by Kurdish and U.S. forces.