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US News With Baghdadi in their sights, U.S. troops launched a ‘dangerous and daring nighttime raid’

09:55  28 october  2019
09:55  28 october  2019 Source:   washingtonpost.com

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

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Their target, Abu Bakr al- Baghdadi , the brutal founder and leader of the Islamic State, was holed up in a compound in northwestern Syria with family members and his terrorist associates What followed was what Trump called a “ dangerous and daring nighttime raid ” that was carried off “in grand style.”

Their target, Abu Bakr al- Baghdadi , the brutal founder and leader of the Islamic State, was holed up in a compound in northwestern Syria with family members and associates, and the United States had been watching him for days. What followed was what Trump called a " dangerous and daring

As President Trump and senior advisers settled into the Situation Room on Saturday evening, elite U.S. forces more than 6,000 miles away launched one of the most significant counterterrorism operations in the campaign against the Islamic State.

Taking off in eight helicopters from Iraq, the troops flew over hostile territory for hundreds of miles in the early Sunday morning darkness.

Their target, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the brutal founder and leader of the Islamic State, was holed up in a compound in northwestern Syria with family members and terrorist associates, and the United States had been watching him for days. 

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With Baghdadi in their sights , U . S . troops launched a ‘ dangerous and daring nighttime raid . President Trump has repeatedly said that other regional actors should take over the expense and physical presence of the United States in Syria. Last year, Trump cut hundreds of millions of dollars in

With Baghdadi in their sights , U . S . troops launched a ‘ dangerous and daring nighttime raid ’. An organizational implosion can’t be ruled out, said Ali Alleile, a Syrian journalist who closely monitors the group’ s activities in Syria. Individual cells will continue to operate in various locations, he said, but the

And it was a tip from a disaffected Islamic State militant that set the operation in motion, according to a U.S. official, who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive operation. 

What followed was what Trump called a “dangerous and daring nighttime raid” that was carried off “in grand style.” It ended, he said, with Baghdadi fleeing from advancing U.S. forces into a dead-end tunnel and detonating a suicide vest, killing himself and three of his children.

“He didn’t die a hero. He died a coward,” the president said. “Crying, whimpering, screaming and bringing kids with him to die. Certain death.”

Other U.S. officials declined to describe Baghdadi’s state in his last moments.

Former leader of the Islamic State group, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. © AP Former leader of the Islamic State group, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

The disaffected ISIS member had become an informant for Kurdish forces working with the Americans, the official said. And he provided critical information on Baghdadi’s whereabouts.

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The " daring and dangerous raid " went off without a hitch, Trump said. "Capturing or killing Baghdadi has been the top national security priority of my administration. U . S . special operations forces executed a dangerous and daring nighttime raid in northwestern Syria and accomplished

Capturing or killing Baghdadi has been the top national security priority of my administration. U . S . Special Operations Forces executed a dangerous and daring nighttime raid in northwestern Syria and accomplished their mission in grand style. The U . S . personnel were incredible.

The informant emerged in early summer, and over time U.S. officials became more confident in his credibility and reliability, the official said. Within the past couple of weeks, it became clear that, when put together with other information, the tip about Baghdadi’s location was solid, the official said.

“It was a montage of a lot of pieces of intelligence that came together with a specific asset that was helpful,” the official said.

How the operation — named after Kayla Mueller, an American aid worker who was abducted and raped repeatedly by Baghdadi before she was killed, according to U.S. officials — came together is still something of a mystery. The troops included some Delta Force members, according to two U.S. officials, but other details, such as how they communicated with more senior commanders in Washington and beyond, and what weapons were involved, remain unknown.

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With Baghdadi in their sights , U . S . troops launched a ‘ dangerous and daring nighttime raid ’. ‘Whimpering, screaming and crying,’ ‘A beautiful dog:’ Trump’ s vivid account of the Baghdadi raid . Bigger than bin Laden? 3 striking things about Trump’ s announcement that Baghdadi is dead.

Capturing or killing Baghdadi has been the top national security priority of my administration. U . S . Special Operations forces executed a dangerous and daring nighttime raid in northwestern Syria and accomplished their mission in grand The U . S . personnel were incredible. I got to watch much of it.

But in colorful and at times taunting language, Trump revealed details Sunday morning of an operation that marks one of the major victories in the five-year U.S.-led campaign against the Islamic State.

The president, speaking at the White House, said he “got to watch” much of the raid beginning about 5 p.m. in Washington. He credited undisclosed technology for giving him “absolutely perfect” visuals that were “as though you were watching a movie.”

Robert C. O'Brien, Mike Pence, Donald Trump, Mark A. Milley in uniform sitting at a table: In this photo provided by the White House, President Donald Trump is joined by from left, national security adviser Robert O'Brien, Vice President Mike Pence, Defense Secretary mark Esper, Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley and Brig. Gen. Marcus Evans, Deputy Director for Special Operations on the Joint Staff, Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019, in the Situation Room of the White House in Washington. monitoring developments as in the U.S. Special Operations forces raid that took out Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. (Shealah Craighead/The White House via AP) © Shealah Craighead/AP In this photo provided by the White House, President Donald Trump is joined by from left, national security adviser Robert O'Brien, Vice President Mike Pence, Defense Secretary mark Esper, Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley and Brig. Gen. Marcus Evans, Deputy Director for Special Operations on the Joint Staff, Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019, in the Situation Room of the White House in Washington. monitoring developments as in the U.S. Special Operations forces raid that took out Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. (Shealah Craighead/The White House via AP) Trump, who returned to the White House from golfing at about 4 p.m., entered the Situation Room about an hour later, he said. Seated at a table in a navy suit and blue tie, he was flanked in a photo released by the White House by Vice President Pence, Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper, White House national security adviser Robert C. O’Brien and Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. 

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U . S . commandos launched the raid late Saturday, Trump said. News reports said the raid ' s target was al- Baghdadi , who was located with the assistance of Trump said the U . S . forces “accomplished their mission in grand style” in a “ dangerous and daring nighttime raid ." The operation lasted about two

“ US special operations forces executed a dangerous and daring nighttime raid in north-west Syria and accomplished their mission in grand style President Donald Trump makes a statement following reports that U . S . forces attacked Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al- Baghdadi U . S . President Donald

Flying after midnight in the Middle East, the helicopters needed to cross airspace controlled by Iraq, Turkey and Russia, and U.S. officials informed them they had an operation planned without providing details. With the Russians in Syria, the Pentagon has called such communication “deconfliction” and said it has prevented accidents and mistaken intent by adversary forces.

When they arrived, they tried to call Baghdadi out to see if he would surrender, Esper said. A couple of adults and 11 children came out, a U.S. official with knowledge of the operation said.

Baghdadi remained inside, as U.S. officials assumed he might. U.S. forces responded by blowing holes in the side of the compound in an effort to avoid any booby-trapped doors, Trump said. Baghdadi retreated into a tunnel, and then detonated his vest.

Five enemy fighters were killed in the operation in the compound, and others were killed outside, the White House said in a statement. O’Brien, speaking in an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” said U.S. troops confirmed Baghdadi was dead at 7:15 p.m. in Washington.

“The commander of the mission called and said, ‘100 percent confidence, jackpot. . . . Got him. One hundred percent confidence jackpot, over,’ ” O’Brien said.

Donald Trump makes a statement at the White House following reports that U.S. forces attacked Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in northern Syria. © Reuters Donald Trump makes a statement at the White House following reports that U.S. forces attacked Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in northern Syria.

Despite Baghdadi's vest detonating, U.S. troops were able to recognize him, the official said. A ground commander reported to Marine Gen. Kenneth “Frank” McKenzie, chief of U.S. Central Command, that they were “absolutely convinced” it was the Islamic State leader. McKenzie in turn relayed that message to the White House. The results of the DNA test were complete Sunday morning, the official said.

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Without confirming the raid or Baghdadi ' s death, Trump indicated Saturday night that a transformative event in the long U . S . campaign to inflict a permanent defeat on the Islamic State group had occurred. "Something very big has just happened," the president tweeted. The nighttime raid posed enormous

In what the president called a “ dangerous and daring ” nighttime operation, helicopters inserted a team of American Special Operations troops into a U . S . intelligence is tracking six Islamic State individuals in the line of succession to Baghdadi , the U . S . official said. It’ s as though Baghdadi were

Milley was “emphatic” that the military had to dispose of Baghdadi’s remains in accordance with Muslim traditions, which typically require burial within 24 hours, the official said. When Navy SEALs killed al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Pakistan in 2011, his body was buried at sea after traditional Islamic rites were performed. It was not clear Sunday whether that occurred in this case.

The remains of at least two wives were left behind. Trump said they had not detonated their vests and were still wearing them, making it too risky for U.S. troops to dispose of the bodies.

Trump said that one U.S. working dog — described by the president as “beautiful” and “talented” — was wounded after chasing Baghdadi into the tunnel. Trump said that no U.S. troops were injured, but Esper said separately that two service members suffered minor injuries.

“They've already been returned to duty,” Esper said, speaking on CNN's “State of the Union.”

Fewer than 100 U.S. troops were on the ground in the raid, with more involved in a supporting role. Several kinds of aircraft were used in the operation, including CH-47 helicopters, the secretary added. They came under fire early in the mission from “locals in the area,” and the Americans returned fire in self-defense, he said.

Videos circulating on social media Sunday from Barisha appear to depict helicopters flying at low altitudes in the dark, heavy gunfire and occasional explosions. Images taken after daybreak show the home where Baghdadi lived reduced to rubble. Esper said it was deliberately destroyed. 

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"Abu Bakr al- Baghdadi is dead." The president said he watched much of the raid from the White The president said the troops involved "accomplished their mission in grand style" and collected a trove of The president said Abu Bakr al- Baghdadi blew himself and three children up after U . S . forces

died in a raid by U . S . troops in northern Syria, bringing a dramatic end to a years-long U . S .-led Turkey and allied Arab groups invaded the territory the Kurds acquired in their U . S .-backed fight Al- Baghdadi , who has rarely been seen in public, appeared in a video in April for the first time in five

Trump and other U.S. officials credited Syrian Kurdish forces — whose alliance in the battle against the militants the president has recently played down as he withdraws forces from Syria — with providing useful information. Mazloum Abdi, commander of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, said in a tweet that they had been gathering information about Baghdadi for five months, while Trump said the operation itself started two weeks ago once the United States had him “scoped.”

“We thought he would be in a certain location,” the president said. “He was. Things started checking out very well.”

But it wasn’t clear how long Baghdadi would stay in Barisha, a small village west of Aleppo.

Pence, speaking on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” said the United States received information about Baghdadi’s most recent location early in the week.

“Through a combination of intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, we believe we knew where he would be, and by Thursday afternoon were informed that there was a high probability he would be at the compound in Idlib province,” Pence said.

The president directed the military to develop options, and they were presented Friday, Pence said. “Actionable intelligence” obtained Saturday allowed the raid to go forward, he added.

“It was incredible to be in the Situation Room and to see this unfold in real time as our Special Forces were on the ground, to see their professionalism over a period of two hours,” he said. “America and the world are safer today with the leader of ISIS dead.”

dan.lamothe@washpost.com

ellen.nakashima@washpost.com

Missy Ryan contributed to this report.

Sister of slain ISIS leader Baghdadi arrested in intelligence 'gold mine,' Turkey says .
The older sister of the slain leader of the Islamic State group Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has been captured in northwestern Syria during a raid on Monday, according to a senior Turkish official, who called the arrest an intelligence "gold mine."Rasmiya Awad, 65, is suspected of being affiliated with the extremist group, the Turkish official said without elaboration.

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