On October 26, 2019, U.S. forces carried out an operation in Syria’s Idlib province that resulted in the death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi , who had served as ISIS’s self-proclaimed caliph since June 2014. U.S. officials confirmed Baghdadi’s identity using DNA tests of his remains after he detonated an explosive vest. Baghdadi’s likely successor, ISIS spokesman Abu Hassan al-Muhajir, was reportedly killed in a U.S. strike in Syria the day after Baghdadi’s death. ISIS did not immediately acknowledge Baghdadi’s death. Baghdadi had been declared dead or seriously wounded on several previous occasions and until this year, his health, whereabouts, and level of control over the organization had been the subject of a great deal of speculation.