One of the world’s most wanted terrorists, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, was
amongst those targeted and killed in a recent raid by American forces,
reports said on Sunday.
The special operation targeted several leaders of the deadly Islamic
State near Barisha, Syria, overnight, with troops launching
helicopters, jets and drops to trap and kill the wanted terrorists.
Although a forensic analysis of those killed in the attack had
commenced, Newsweek was the first to report that Mr Al-Baghdadi was
amongst those believed killed, citing military sources.
Other media reports have corroborated Newsweek with additional details
of how American troops first arrived by air and then began gathering
intelligence on the ground.
No reports of American casualties during the overnight raid, which had
been deemed one of the most daring since the 2011 operation that
killed Osama Bin Laden.
The news came hours after President Donald Trump tweeted that
“something very big has just happened.” He is expected to make an
announcement by 9:00 a.m. in Washington, the White House said, without
providing additional details.
For years, Mr Al-Baghdadi, 48, had terrorised countries with his
jihadist campaign, leading different cells of insurgents. Previous
reports once said he was killed in American drone strikes, but they
were not confirmed like the latest report.
He has led Islamic State since 2010, and once boasted from the pulpit
of the great medieval mosque in Mosul in 2014 to declare himself the
leader of a new caliphate in the Middle-East.
After being away from public glare for a long time, Islamic State
released an 18-minute video which included Mr Al-Baghdadi look-alike
sitting cross-legged on the ground with an assault weapon.
…he died like a dog – Trump
US President Donald Trump has said Islamic State leader, al-Baghdadi
detonated a suicide vest, killing himself and three of his children
after US special forces operatives trapped him in a dead-end tunnel in
He said al-Baghdadi’s “mutilated” body was retrieved and tested,
providing “certain, immediate and totally positive identification”
that it was him.
“The thug who tried so hard to intimidate others spent his last
moments in utter fear, panic, and dread, terrified of the American
forces coming down on him,” Trump said.
“He reached the end of the tunnel as our dogs chased him down. He
ignited his vest, killing himself and his three children. His body was
mutilated by the blasts. The tunnel had caved on him.
“He was a sick and depraved man, and now he’s gone. He died like a
dog; he died like a coward.”
The US president thanked Russia, Turkey, Syria and Iraq “for Baghdadi
raid help” adding that “a large number of Baghdadi’s supporters died
in the US raid”.
The president said Baghdadi’s “heavily armed lair” had been scoped out
two weeks ago.
The special forces reportedly spent around two hours in the compound,
searching the area and gathering highly sensitive information after
al-Baghdadi had been killed.