Saudi Arabia said Monday that Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi had distorted the image of Islam, and hailed his killing by US special forces in northwestern Syria.
“The kingdom appreciates the US administration’s efforts to pursue members of this terrorist organisation that distorted the real image of Islam… and committed atrocities and crimes,” said a Saudi foreign ministry source, according to the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA).
“Saudi Arabia continues its efforts with its allies, especially the United States, in fighting terrorism,” the source added.
US President Donald Trump announced on Sunday that Baghdadi had died “like a dog” in an overnight raid by US special forces in Syria.
Trump said many IS jihadists had been killed in the raid and that Baghdadi had detonated a suicide vest when he was cornered in a tunnel.
IS had seized swathes of Iraq and Syria in 2014, imposing a violent form of Islamic rule on some seven million residents of its “caliphate”, headed by Baghdadi.
The Iraqi, believed to be 48 years old, was rarely seen during his years as leader of the group, last appearing in a propaganda video in April.