US Kills ISIS Leader Baghdadi in Saturday Raid

Iraqi govt says it gave US the location of Baghdadi

A raid carried out on Saturday by US special forces in northwest Syria killed ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. President Trump announced the operation on Sunday morning, along with Baghdadi’s death.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper said that the operation was intended to capture Baghdadi, and that the US surrounded his house and asked him to surrender, but he refused, ultimately detonating  a suicide vest. Two US soldiers were wounded in the operation.

Baghdadi’s death is being touted as a big success by the US, though clearly capturing him would’ve been much more significant, as he doubtless would have been a resource on ISIS’ international operations. Some documents were reported seized in the raid, however.

A Jihadist commander reported that six bodies, three men and three women, were found at the site. The commander said Baghdadi’s body was not there, believe to have been taken by US forces, and that one of his deputies was also taken.

Iraqi officials say they provided the US with the location of Baghdadi, which was in Syria’s Idlib Province. Russian officials said they had no information, beyond the apparent operation taking place in Turkish-controlled Idlib.

France has reported that they are on high alert after the announcement, fearing that ISIS revenge attacks could take place. France was a country of origin for many ISIS members, and that might make France a location to target.

The death of Baghdadi is a blow to ISIS, even though the group barely exists in Iraq or Syria any longer. It is unclear at this point who will replace him as leader, though it may be likely they will be out of this historic home territory, as more active ISIS factions have set up shop elsewhere around the world.

It is also unclear if this will impact US military operations in Iraq and Syria, which were at least nominally about ISIS, though in Syria in particular the focus has shifted largely to maintaining military control of Syria’s oil.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.