Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi: Pentagon Publishes First Footage of Raid on Syrian Compound
Pentagon has published the first footage of the raid in northern Syria in which Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State (ISIS) group was killed.
The video showed troops firing at militants on the ground as they flew towards the compound where Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was hiding before they moved in on the ground.
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi fled into a tunnel and killed himself by detonating a suicide vest.
After the raid the compound was destroyed with munitions.
General Kenneth McKenzie, the head of US Central Command, said the destroyed buildings were left looking like “a parking lot with large potholes”.
He said two children had died with Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in the tunnel – not three as previously reported.
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Gen. Kenneth McKenzie also could not confirm President Donald Trump’s graphic description of Baghdadi whimpering and crying as he died.
“He crawled into a hole with two small children and blew himself up while his people stayed on the ground. You can deduce what kind of person it is based on that activity,” he told a news conference at the Pentagon.
“That would be my empirical observation of what he did. I’m not able to confirm anything else about his last seconds. I just can’t confirm that one way or another.”
He said four women – who were wearing suicide vests – and one man were killed at the compound.
Gen McKenzie said an unknown number of fighters also died after opening fire on US helicopters.
He added: “I want to make it clear that despite the high-pressure and high-profile nature of this assault that every effort was made to avoid civilian casualties and to protect children we suspected would be in the compound.”
He confirmed that Baghdadi had been identified through his DNA – adding that samples had been on file since the ISIS leader’s detention in an Iraqi prison in 2004.
Gen McKenzie said Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s remains were flown back to a staging base for identification and were then buried at sea within 24 hours of his death “in accordance with the laws of armed conflict”.