President Trump in a nationally televised address has confirmed that the elusive chief of the Islamic State, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has been killed by t
President Trump in a nationally televised address has confirmed that the elusive chief of the Islamic State, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has been killed by the US special forces in a raid in northwest Syria on Saturday.
“Last night the United States brought the world’s number one terrorist leader to justice. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is dead. He was the founder and leader of ISIS. The most ruthless and violent terror organization anywhere in the world. The United States has been searching for Baghdadi for many years. Capturing or killing Baghdadi has been the top national security priority of my administration,” he said.
Despite being hunted by the world’s best intelligence agencies and the US authorities offering a whopping USD 25 million reward for information leading to his capture, Baghdadi proved to be incredibly elusive. Trump thanked Russia, Turkey, Syria and Iraq, as well as Kurdish fighters in Syria for their support.
Baghdadi joined Al-Qaeda in Iraq, which merged with other Islamist groups to form the Islamic State of Iraq. He became the group’s leader in 2010 after his predecessor was killed by US forces. He renamed the group to the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant, widely known as ISIL or ISIS in 2013 and announced his “caliphate” in 2014.
A senior Iraqi security official revealed that Iraqi intelligence played a part in the operation. Al-Baghdadi and his wife detonated explosive vests they were wearing during the US commando operation, according to the official. He added that other IS leaders were killed in the attack.
The killing of al-Baghdadi marks a significant foreign policy success for Trump, coming at one of the lowest points in his presidency as he is mired in impeachment proceedings and facing widespread Republican condemnation for his Syria policy.