Pres. US Donald Trump announced Sunday that Islamic State (Isis) leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi died during a US military raid in the early hours of northern Syria.
n a live broadcast, also broadcast by CBS TV station, Trump said that Baghdadi died at the end of a tunnel after the two-hour operation and that he “lamented and cried and cried all the way. “
Trump called him a “spoiled, sick person.”
He says Baghdadi exploded his suicide vest.
The extermination of Baghdadi comes at a crucial time that Trump is under pressure from members of his own party, Republicans and Democrats, for his decision to withdraw U.S. soldiers from northern Syria, CBS reports,
Baghdadi has long been sought by the US as a leader of this Islamic terror group that at one stage controlled large areas in Syria and Iraq and declared a caliphate. Isis has launched severe offenses and attacks against religious minorities on five continents in the name of this ultra-fanatical organization that has frightened mainstream Muslims, Reuters reports.
The operation apparently took place in the Idlib region of Syria.
Baghdadi has led Isis since its inception in 2010, when it was another underground branch of Al-Qaeda in Iraq. In the last few years, Isis has lost most of its occupied territory, although the group is still considered a threat. Baghdadi has long been suspected of hiding somewhere along the Iraq-Syria border. The US offered a $ 25 million reward (about R370 million) as a reward for information that could lead to its detection.
Sunday’s raid involved eight helicopters, fighter jets and ground skirmishes in the village of Barsiha, in Idlib province and adjacent to Turkey, said the leader of a militant faction in the region.
The US forces removed Baghdadi’s body and that of a man they suspected was his deputy, said the military leader. The bodies of three other men and three women were also found, he said.
Two security sources in Iraq and two Iranian officials said they had received confirmation from Syria that Baghdadi had been killed.
His personal bodyguard is also dead. Baghdadi was apparently spotted leaving his shelter while trying to get his family from Idlib to the Turkish border, one of the officials said. – Compiled from Reuters, CBS