US President Donald Trump confirms death of Daesh terror group leader in a US military operation in Syria's northwestern Idlib province. Trump says Baghdadi did not die of a hero and spent his final moments "crying, "whimpering" and "screaming."
The shadowy leader of the Daesh terror group who became arguably the world's most wanted man, is dead after being targeted by a US military raid in Syria, President Donald Trump said on Sunday.
"Abu Bakr al Baghdadi is dead," Trump announced at the White House, saying the US had "brought the world's number one terrorist leader to justice."
As US forces bore down on him, Trump said al Baghdadi fled into a tunnel with three of his children and detonated a suicide vest. "He was a sick and depraved man, and now he's gone," Trump said.
No US troops were killed or injured in the raid, Trump said.
As US forces bore down on Baghdadi, he fled into a "dead-end" tunnel with three of his children, Trump said, and detonated a suicide vest. "He was a sick and depraved man, and now he's gone," Trump said. "He died like a dog, he died like a coward." Baghdadi's identity was positively confirmed by a DNA test conducted onsite, Trump said.
Planning for the operation began two weeks ago, Trump said, after the US gained unspecified intelligence on Baghdadi's whereabouts. Eight military helicopters flew for more than an hour over territory controlled by Russian and Syrian forces, Trump said, before landing under gunfire at the compound.
Trump vividly described the raid and took extensive questions from reporters for more than 45 minutes Sunday. He said US forces breached the walls of the building because the doors were booby-trapped and chased Baghdadi into the tunnel, which partially collapsed after Baghdadi detonated the suicide vest.
Trump said a military dog was injured by the explosive blast. He also revealed that US forces spent roughly two hours on the ground collecting intelligence.
Trump said he watched the operation from the White House Situation room as it played out live "as though you were watching a movie." He suggested he may order the release of the video so that the world knows Baghdadi did not die of a hero and spent his final moments "crying, "whimpering" and "screaming."
Trump said he teased the announcement as soon as American forces landed safely in a third-country.
Something very big has just happened!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 27, 2019
Trump, in his speech, thanked Russia, Turkey and Iraq for their help during the US operation, adding "[Turkey] they knew we were going in...they were terrific, no problem."
A senior Turkish official told the Wall Street Journal that Turkey had information concerning Baghdadi's location in the Idlib village 48 hours before the operation began.
The Turkish defence ministry said Turkish and US military authorities had exchanged and coordinated information ahead of operation in northern Syria's Idlib.
Another Turkish official told Reuters, on the condition of anonymity since he was not authorised to talk to the media, that Daesh leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi had arrived at the location in Syria, where was reportedly killed early on Sunday in a US raid, some 48 hours before the operation.
He added that the Turkish army had advance knowledge of the US operation targeting Daesh leader in Syria's Idlib and Ankara would continue to coordinate its actions on the ground with the "relevant parties."
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan tweeted “The killing of Daesh’s ringleader marks a turning point in our joint fight against terrorism,” and added that “Turkey will continue to support anti-terror efforts”.
Having paid the dearest price in the fight against Daesh, PKK/YPG, and other terrorist organizations, Turkey welcomes this development.— Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (@RTErdogan) October 27, 2019
I am confident that a decisive struggle against terrorism, in line with the spirit of alliance, will bring peace to all of humanity.
At least two officials from Iran and another two from Iraq, told Reuters on the condition of anonymity since they were not authorised to talk to the media, that they had received confirmation of Baghdadi's death in a US raid in Syria.
Fighting Daesh 'cornerstone' of Turkey’s operations - Altun
The fight against the Daesh terrorist group is a "cornerstone" of Turkey’s anti-terror operations in Syria, Turkey’s director of communications said.
"We will continue to hunt down and bring to justice all Daesh terrorists, including those that the terrorist organization PKK/YPG released from prisons in recent weeks," Fahrettin Altun said on Twitter.
"We will cooperate with source countries to ensure the repatriation of foreign terrorist fighters that joined Daesh," he added.
Altun highlighted Turkey’s cooperation with its "friends" and "allies" against terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. "It’s time to eliminate all the remaining terrorist leaders," he said.
More than 300 people have been killed in attacks claimed by Daesh in Turkey, where the terrorist organisation has targeted civilians in suicide bombings and armed attacks in recent years.
Turkish security forces have been involved in a long-running campaign to thwart Daesh attacks.