President Donald Trump announced the death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State. “A brutal killer, one who has caused so much hardship and death, has violently been eliminated,” Trump said in an address to the nation from the White House. “He will never again harm another innocent man, woman or child.
President Donald Trump announced the death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State.
“A brutal killer, one who has caused so much hardship and death, has violently been eliminated,” Trump said in an address to the nation from the White House. “He will never again harm another innocent man, woman or child. He died like a dog. He died like a coward. The world is now a much safer place.”
Trump said he was able to watch most of the operation in the White House Situation Room as it happened.
“Al-Baghdadi was vicious and violent and he died in a vicious and violent way. As a coward running and crying,” Trump said. “This raid was impeccable and could only have taken place with the acknowledgment and help of certain other nations and people. I want to thank the nations of Russia, Turkey, Syria, and Iraq and I also want to thank the Syrian Kurds for certain support they were able to give us.”
Defense Secretary Mark Esper appeared on ABC’s “This Week” following the president’s remarks and described more details of the military operation, saying the stars aligned a few of weeks ago. He said troops rehearsed the mission and then on Thursday and Friday chose the option they would proceed with on Saturday.
Defense Sec. Mark Esper says fewer than 100 forces were on the ground during raid, “but these are always much bigger operations, the tail of which stretches back pretty deep.” https://abcn.ws/2PoXSTK
Trump said he and his national security team gathered in the Situation Room shortly after 5 p.m. to watch the mission. A short time later, eight helicopters carrying the special operations team took off from an undisclosed location in a nearby country for a 1 hour, 10 minute flight to al-Baghdadi’s compound. The president said that flight was a dangerous part of the mission given they would be flying over Russian- and extremist-held territory.
Once the helicopters landed near the compound, the troops made their way to the building and blew holes into the side of the building to avoid the main door. There was a firefight and an unknown number of fighters were killed.
Al-Baghdadi grabbed three of his children and ran into an escape tunnel, where he was eventually cornered by a U.S. military dog, Trump said. The president described al-Baghdadi as, “whimpering, crying and screaming the whole time.”
There were no American troops wounded in the operation, but a military dog was hurt when al-Baghdadi’s vest was detonated and the tunnel collapsed, Trump said.
Pres. Trump says he watched raid that killed ISIS leader with Vice Pres. Pence and others in the Situation Room.
“We watched it so clearly…as though you were watching a movie.” https://abcn.ws/2PoXSTK
The president said al-Baghdadi’s body was significantly damaged by the blast, but there were enough remains to positively identify him through a visual identification and an on-site DNA test