Get the latest market trends in your inbox

Stay on top of the latest market trends and economic insights with the Axios Markets newsletter. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Minneapolis-St. Paul

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa-St. Petersburg news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa-St. Petersburg

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

An image grab taken from a video released in July 2014 of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi preaching at a mosque in Mosul. Photo: Al-Furqan Media/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, leader of the Islamic State, or ISIS, was targeted in a raid led by U.S. military special operations and is believed to have been killed in the attack in northwest Syria, Newsweek first reported Saturday night.

Details: A military source told Fox News that a "high value ISIS target" believed to be Baghdadi was "killed by U.S.-led forces in Idlib, Syria." A U.S. official told AP the terrorist group leader was "killed in an explosion" in the province. American military sources told news outlets including CNN, ABC News, Defense One and Al Jazeera that a person believed to be Baghdadi detonated a suicide vest.

  • NBC News reported that forensic testing was being conducted, but officials told the news outlet that Baghdadi was among the dead. A U.S. Army official "briefed on the results of the operation" told Newsweek that Baghdadi had died. CNN reported that the "CIA assisted in locating" him.

What they're saying: The reports surfaced soon after President Trump posted a cryptic tweet at 9:23 pm saying, "Something very big has just happened!" and the White House said it would make a "major statement" at 9 am on Sunday.

  • It's unclear whether the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) were involved in the operation, but its commander Mazloum Abdi and SDF spokesperson Mustafa Bali both appeared to tweet about the raid.
  • The Turkish Defense Ministry tweeted Sunday, "Prior to the US Operation in Idlib Province of Syria last night, information exchange and coordination between the military authorities of both countries took place."

Why it matters: Baghdadi was regarded by many as the world’s most-wanted man. He had evaded capture for years amid tight security, per the BBC.

  • Baghdadi's reported killing comes as Trump faces an impeachment inquiry. He's also received criticism from Democrats and Republicans for his decision to withdraw U.S. troops from northern Syria amid accusations he abandoned U.S.-allied Kurdish forces to face the threat of a Turkish incursion.
  • The U.S. had a $25 million bounty on Baghdadi, and if the reported operation is proven to be successful, it'd be the most significant counterterrorism raid since the killing of Osama bin Laden in 2011.

The big picture: Last month, an audio message from Baghdadi emerged in which he called on followers to redouble efforts to further the mission of ISIS in an effort to boost the extremist group after it lost control of territories in Iraq and Syria this year.

  • In April, ISIS released a video of Baghdadi speaking with masked supporters about events that took place that month amid reports that he had been killed or gravely wounded.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

Go deeper

Patrick Gaspard to leave George Soros' Open Society Foundations

Patrick Gaspard speaks onstage at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. Photo: Ernesto Distefano/Getty Images

Patrick Gaspard, who served as ambassador to South Africa under President Barack Obama, is stepping down as president of George Soros' Open Society Foundations, fueling speculation that he'll join the Biden administration, potentially as Labor secretary.

What to know: Before his stint as ambassador, Gaspard was Obama's political director in the White House, drawing upon his experience in the labor movement to advance Obama's legislative agenda on health care and financial services reform.

House passes bill to decriminalize marijuana

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), a longtime marijuana legalization advocate and co-sponsor of the bill. Photo: Pete Marovich For The Washington Post via Getty Images

The House on Friday voted 228-164 in favor of the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act, marking the first time a congressional chamber has voted in favor of decriminalizing marijuana at the federal level.

Why it matters: The Washington Post describes the bill as a "landmark retreat in the nation’s decades-long war on drugs," which has disproportionately affected people of color.

Updated 20 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Fauci says he accepted Biden's offer to be chief medical adviser "on the spot" — Biden plans to ask public to wear masks for first 100 days in office.
  2. Health: Coronavirus death rates rising across the country — Study: Increased COVID-19 testing can reduce transmission — Hospitalizations top 100,000 for the first time.
  3. Economy: U.S. economy adds 245,000 jobs in November as recovery slows — America's hidden depression: K-shaped recovery threatens Biden administration.
  4. Vaccine: What COVID-19 vaccine trials still need to do — Obama, Bush and Clinton willing to take vaccine in public —WSJ: Pfizer expects to ship half as many COVID vaccines as planned in 2020.