The Leader of ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria), Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, was killed in a “dangerous and daring nighttime raid” by U.S. special operations forces in Syria this weekend.
The remains of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi have been buried at sea, according to two US defense officials.
President Trump, who first tweeted that “something very big has just happened” at 9:23 PM local time in Washington D.C. on Saturday evening, talked for nearly an hour and a half about the raid on the morning of Oct. 27.
The President also praised Russian cooperation as significant in the execution of Sunday’s raid, also citing “Turkey, Syria, Iraq and the Syrian Kurds,” as contributing to the raid’s success.
While news media around the world reported on the story, and broadcast the U.S. President’s press conference on Sunday morning U.S. time, some interesting insights about the raid have begun to surface.
Asked at a press briefing if the US military has video or photos of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s final moments, Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said, “We do have videos, photos.”
“We’re not prepared to release those…they’re going through a declassification process,” Milley said.
He added that the photos and videos would be released by the military in the coming days.
How was Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi located?
According to the unconfirmed US media reports, the location of Baghdadi’s hideout in a small compound outside the village of Barisha in Idlib province, about 5km (three miles) south of the Turkish border, emerged from details given by an informant or informants over the past few months.
BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Iraq's intelligence service provided the U.S.-led coalition with the exact coordinates of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's location, paving the way for the raid that reportedly killed him, an Iraqi intelligence official told Reuters on Sunday.
— Geoff Bennett (@GeoffRBennett) October 27, 2019
The US began to receive intelligence on the whereabouts of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi about a month ago, according to Donald Trump. Intelligence officials were able to scope out his exact location – near the village of Barisha in north-west Syria – two weeks ago, and Trump was made aware of the planned raid at the end of last week.
Moments after a team including the US president gathered in the White House situation room at about 5pm ET (11 pm in Syria) on Saturday, eight helicopters – mostly twin-rotor CH-47s – took off from an airbase in northern Iraq.
Here’s What We Know About The U.S. Raid on Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in Syria
Some media outlets, including CNN, suggested the raid was executed by members of the U.S. Army’s Special Forces Operational Detachment-D or “SFOD-D”. This unit is often referred to as “Delta” in popular media, although this name is not officially acknowledged by the U.S. Army and members of the special operations community suggest the name of the unit was changed years ago.
One CNN analyst also suggested that the U.S. Army’s 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (160th SOAR), the “Night Stalkers” operated the “8 helicopters” that flew the special operations team to the target area near Barisha, in the northwestern corner of Syria.