After claiming big victories over ISIS earlier this year, the United States of America landed a knockout punch in a weekend raid that killed the ISIS head Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Interestingly, this was followed by the death of al-Baghdadi’s likely successor, which was announced by President Donald Trump in a tweet on Tuesday morning that read: “number one replacement has been terminated by American troops”.
Now, as the lingering doubts hovered over the claims about Baghdadi’s death, the Pentagon on Wednesday released new images and videos of the raid backing their claims. Marine Corps Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, the head of U.S. Central Command said that the mission, which he ordered to commence from Central Command headquarters in Tampa, Fla., began at around 9 am EST Saturday.
In a footage released on Wednesday, showing the bombing of Baghdadi’s compound in northern Syria and small black silhouettes of US soldiers approaching the walls of the compound, before the screen turns grey.
Fighters from two locations can be seen gathering to fire on US aircraft. Though the individuals were not believed to have any connection with al-Baghdadi, “they demonstrated a hostile intent against U.S. forces and were killed by two airstrikes from supporting helicopters,” McKenzie said. The forces first removed the non- hostile inhabitants that surrendered, which included 11 children.
Offering the details at the press conference, McKenzie also gave assurance on the same and said that mission was carried out keeping in mind that there are civilians in the compound.
Five ISIS members inside, four women and one man, “presented a threat to the force,” McKenzie said. “They did not respond to commands in Arabic to surrender … and were then engaged by the raid force and killed.”
Assault forces then found out that al-Baghdadi was hiding in a tunnel, where he detonated a suicide vest as US Army closed in, killing himself and three other children, who were believed to be under 12 years.
During the caliphate, six ISIS members who reportedly lost their lives included, a man and four women. As informed, al-Baghdadi’s remains were buried at the sea bed, after he was identified through a DNA test.
A defense Intelligence Agency DNA laboratory processed DNA samples from the enemy killed during the combat suspected to be al-Baghdadi. The analysis found a direct match to his 2004 sample collected at an Iraq detention center.
ISIS leader’s compound was completely blown using munitions afterwards, and the footage was shown as proof at a press conference.
A few details were offered of the dog that chased al-Baghdadi down the tunnel and was injured in the vest explosion. “This dog is a four-year veteran of [the Special Operations Command] canine program and has been a member of approximately 50 combat missions,” McKenzie said. He was later pronounced as fine and resuming duty since.
Although al-Baghdadi’s death marks a significant achievement for the US, the fight with ISIS is still on. The threat to America is vivid and national security officials also suspect ISIS will try some form of retribution attack, especially after the loss of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.