The US military launched a campaign against terrorist organisation Islamic State (IS or ISIS) leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, reminiscent of the US Marine action to bump off Osama bin Laden, and it claims it has succeeded. According to reports, the ISIS honcho was killed in Syria in a night-time operation. US President Donald Trump finally announced this at a press conference after the ‘news’ circulated in the media for about 12 h (video of the White House telecast in a tweet towards the end of this post).
Some reports say it was an air operation in which Baghdadi was killed. However, this is yet to be confirmed.
Earlier in the day, according to a CNN report, a senior US defence official and trusted source said al-Baghdadi had been killed in a raid by the US forces on Saturday in northeast Syria. But there was no official confirmation of the raid or the assassination of al-Baghdadi. Neither the Pentagon nor the White House confirmed the raid or its alleged result so far. But White House definitely said that Donald Trump was going to make a “big announcement”.
The BBC quoted Newsweek as saying that the raid, which was carried out by special operations forces, was launched after they received some intelligence inputs. US President Donald Trump tweeted soon after the ‘news’ arrived. He said, “Something very big has just happened.”
According to the information so far, the operation was similar to the one carried out in Abbottabad, Pakistan, to kill Osama bin Laden. That is, first, US intelligence wings got information about Baghdadi’s whereabouts. The operation is said to have been carried out in western Syria. The US military launched an air raid on Baghdadi’s hideout. After this, the ‘body’ of Baghdadi was found.
Something similar had happened in the case of bin Laden. His body was found after the attack and then his death was confirmed.
Or he committed suicide?
Some reports in the US media say that Baghdadi had committed suicide after the US attack. A report claimed that Baghdadi, believe it or not, bombed himself to death as soon as the military action was reported. However, they said, whether it is Baghdadi’s corpse will be confirmed only after a DNA test is carried out on the body they believe is of the dreaded terrorist. The US has not yet released any official statement in this matter.
According to a BBC report, al-Baghdadi is considered the most wanted terrorist or war criminal in the world. He was officially declared a terrorist by the US in October 2011 and a reward of $ 10 million was placed on his head.
Baghdadi had last appeared in public in July 2014 at the al Noori Mosque in Mosul, which was later captured by Iraqi security forces in June 2017. In August this year, ISIS had released a new audio message from al Baghdadi. There were reports of his death on several previous occasions but none of those ‘killings’ could ever be confirmed.