US News Islamic State's leader is dead but the terror group 'is expanding'
ISIS eyes breakout opportunity as Turkish forces batter Kurds
Terrorist group celebrates prison breaks, expands attacks as foes are beaten back.Despite Thursday’s announced cease-fire, Turkey’s week-old incursion into northeast Syria is already proving to be a propaganda windfall for the extremist group, which in recent months had been making faltering attempts at a comeback in parts of eastern Syria controlled by the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, the analysts said.
The threat from Islamic State is not finished, despite the death of its leader in a US military operation.
That was the warning from experts after US President Donald Trump confirmed the death of Abu Bakr al Baghdadi on Sunday in Syria.
Chris Costa, a former senior director for counter-terrorism for the National Security Council in the Trump administration, said: "The bottom line is: This puts the enemy on its heels, but the ideology - and this sounds so cliched - it is not dead."
Mike Rogers, the ranking Republican on the house homeland security committee, said: "While the death of its leader is a tremendous blow for the group, about 10,000 ISIS fighters remain in the region and will continue to carry out guerrilla attacks and seek new territory."
ISIS Reaps Gains of U.S. Pullout From Syria
American forces and their Kurdish-led partners in Syria had been conducting as many as a dozen counterterrorism missions a day against Islamic State militants, officials said. Those same partners, the Syrian Democratic Forces, had also been quietly releasing some Islamic State prisoners and incorporating them into their ranks, in part as a way to keep them under watch. That, too, is now in jeopardy.
Defence Secretary Mark Esper said on ABC's This Week: "Our job is to stay on top of that and to make sure that we continue to take out their leadership."
Experts have said that Islamic State is growing in numbers outside Syria, expanding its affiliate in Afghanistan and moving in to Pakistan, Tajikistan, Iran, India, Bangladesh and Indonesia.
Al Baghdadi killed himself and three of his children during the operation by setting off a suicide vest, he added.
Trump's Baghdadi raid Situation Room photo has one big difference to Obama's bin Laden picture — and it tells you everything about their styles
The Situation Room photo of Trump during the raid against ISIS leader Baghdadi differs significantly from Obama's during the Osama bin Laden raid.
"He reached the end of the tunnel as our dogs chased him down.
"He ignited his vest, killing himself and his three children.
Test results from the aftermath of the raid confirmed the deceased was the Islamic State leader.
Mr Trump revealed that Kurdish intelligence helped the operation and the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said it had worked with the US on a "successful" mission.
Iraq's military said its national intelligence service had located al Baghdadi and told the US of his whereabouts.
Mr Trump also thanked Russia for opening up their airspace, despite them not knowing the nature of the US mission.
Al Baghdadi was one of the world's most wanted criminals, with a bounty of $25m (£19.5m) on his head.
With Baghdadi in their sights, U.S. troops launched a ‘dangerous and daring nighttime raid’
U.S. troops blew holes in the walls of the compound in which the ISIS leader was staying. But much about the operation is a mystery.Taking off in eight helicopters from Iraq, the troops flew over hostile territory for hundreds of miles in the early Sunday morning darkness.
Al Baghdadi, who led IS for the past five years, was seen in the summer of 2014 in the pulpit of the Nouri mosque in Mosul.
He oversaw a shift away from large-scale attacks towards smaller acts of violence that would be harder for law enforcement to prevent.
In 2015, he was reportedly severely injured in an airstrike in western Iraq.
He has also been heard in a number of audio messages to followers, including an 18-minute speech given earlier this year.
UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said: "The death of Baghdadi is a significant milestone in the coalition's work to defeat Daesh [IS] but it is not the end of the threat.
"Daesh has imposed terrible suffering on innocent civilians. The UK will continue to work with our international partners to bring this to an end."
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ISIS Names New Leader and Confirms al-Baghdadi’s Death .
Days after the Islamic State’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and his heir apparent were killed in back-to-back attacks by United States forces in northern Syria, the group broke its silence on Thursday to confirm their deaths, announce a new leader and warn America: “Do not be happy.” In an audio recording uploaded on the Telegram app, the Islamic State mourned the loss of Mr. al-Baghdadi, who led the organization for nearly a decade, and its spokesman, Abu Hassan al-Muhajir, who was killed a day after Mr. al-Baghdadi and who had widely been considered a potential successor.
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