Donald Trump: Most-wanted IS chief Baghdadi died like a coward

Updated: Oct 28, 2019, 09:00 IST | Agencies | Washington

The US President says the ISIS leader spent his last moments 'whimpering and crying and screaming' in a dead-end tunnel before he blew himself up, also killing three of his children

Syrian children stand next to a burnt vehicle at the site where a helicopter gunfire reportedly killed nine people near the northwestern Syrian village of Barisha, where 'groups linked to the IS group' were present, according to a Britain-based war monitor with sources inside Syria. Pic/AFP
Syrian children stand next to a burnt vehicle at the site where a helicopter gunfire reportedly killed nine people near the northwestern Syrian village of Barisha, where 'groups linked to the IS group' were present, according to a Britain-based war monitor with sources inside Syria. Pic/AFP

Washington: Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi "is dead" in a secret US special forces raid in northwest Syria, President Donald Trump announced on Sunday, saying the elusive leader of the "ruthless" Islamic State died "like a dog and like a coward".

Speaking from the White House on Sunday morning, President Trump said the ISIS leader spent his last moments "whimpering and crying and screaming" in a dead-end tunnel before he blew himself up, killing also his three children.

Trump said the US Special Operations forces conducted the "daring and dangerous nighttime raid" and "accomplished their mission in grand style" in taking out the ISIS chief, who is said to be 48 years old. Trump said he, along with Vice President Mike Pence and top military leadership, watched the entire operation live "better than a movie" from the situation room of the White House.

"He was the founder and leader of ISIS. The most ruthless and violent terror organisation anywhere in the world. The US has been searching for Baghdadi for many years. Capturing or killing Baghdadi has been the top national security priority of my administration," he said.

"He died after running into a dead-end tunnel, whimpering, crying and screaming all the way. The thug who tried so hard to intimidate others spent his last moments in utter fear, in total panic and dread, terrified of the American forces bearing down on him," Trump said. "Baghdadi's demise demonstrates America's relentless pursuit of terrorist leaders and our commitment to the enduring and total defeat of ISIS and other terrorist organisations," he said.

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi

Baghdadi's rule

An Iraqi national, Baghdadi was an ultraconservative Islamist who fought against US forces following the 2003 invasion that toppled Iraqi strongman Saddam Hussein. Baghdadi was later arrested and US forces kept him in the detention centres of Abu Ghraib and Camp Bucca, where a number of Islamist militants were lodged. Baghdadi joined Al-Qaeda in Iraq, which merged with other Islamist groups to form the Islamic State of Iraq. He became the group's leader and renamed it Islamic State of Iraq and Levant.

Kurds kill Turkish soldier, injure five others

A Turkish soldier was killed and five others sustained injuries in an attack by the Syrian Kurdish group in northern Syria, Turkey's Defense Ministry said on Sunday. The casualties of the Turkish army were "a result of the harassment attacks committed by PKK/YPG terrorists against our elements conducting reconnaissance-surveillance activities in Ras al-Ain, the area of Operation Peace Spring," the ministry said in a statement.

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