ISIS Leader Al-Baghdadi Killed in U.S. Military Raid
The leader of the Islamic State Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was killed in Syria Saturday night, right after which President Donald Trump telegraphed the success in an announcement on Twitter.
Mazloum Abdi, the commander of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, also tweeted that there was a “Successful& historical operation due to a joint intelligence work with the United States of America.” The Syrian Democratic Forces have been an important ally to U.S. forces fighting ISIS.
ISIS leader al-Baghdadi reportedly detonated an explosive vest as U.S. Special Operations Forces stormed his compound in the Idrib Province. He was cornered at the back of a dead-end tunnel.
Considered a “high value target,” al-Baghdadi had a $25 million reward for any information leading to his arrest.
The State Department increased the bounty value from $10 million in 2011 to the $25 million mark in 2016. In a press release at the time, the feds said that “under al-Baghdadi, ISIL has been responsible for the deaths of thousands of civilians in the Middle East, including the brutal murder of numerous civilian hostages from Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States.”
Baghdadi’s most notable public appearance came five years ago, near the height of ISIS’ power in Iraq and Syria. He spoke at the Great Mosque of al-Nuri in Mosul, Iraq, in July 2014, declaring himself caliph of the new Islamic State.
At its height, ISIS ruled over 8 million people in territory the size of Great Britain, with its capital in Raqqa, Syria.
The group rose to prominence for its gruesome violence, releasing videos of beheadings and burning people alive. It publicly beheaded, crucified and threw people off buildings. The group forced thousands of women and children from Iraq’s Yazidi minority into slavery amid an ISIS campaign of genocide against the group. Yazidi women and girls were kept as sex slaves for years.
ISIS attracted tens of thousands of foreigners, many from the West, and inspired terrorist groups around the globe. The group even established a quasi-government, with administrative functions, courts and police.
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s death is considered a major victory for President Trump, who has been severely critical of the previous administration’s work in encouraging the formation and growth of ISIS.