Pentagon Releases Images, Video from Baghdadi Raid
By Staff, Agencies
The United States has released a number of declassified images and video from the raid that left the Wahhabi Daesh [Arabic acronym for “ISIS” / “ISIL”] chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi dead.
The Central Command’s release on Wednesday followed doubts about the reality of the raid on Baghdadi’s compound in Syria’s Idlib province.
General Frank McKenzie, the CENTCOM commander, told reporters that four men and two women had been killed in the raid adding that the two children killed alongside Baghdadi were probably “under 12”.
The top general refused to confirm US President Donald Trump’s claim that the Daesh chief was "screaming, crying and whimpering" in his last moments, a claim already repudiated by anonymous US officials with knowledge of operational details.
McKenzie also asserted that a DNA analysis showed "beyond a shadow of a doubt" that the man who died there was Baghdadi.
According to US Central Command, the Wahhabi leader’s remains were "buried at sea in accordance with the Law of Armed conflict within 24 hours of his death."
US officials were, meanwhile, estimating that a new Daesh leader would surface sooner or later after the group’s spokesman Abu Hassan al-Muhajir was allegedly killed as well.
“There's no question that the losses over the weekend were significant to ISIL," acting director of the National Counterterrorism Center Russ Travers told the House Homeland Security Committee, referring to the Wahhabi’s deaths. "At the same time, it's a deep bench… The United States and the coalition overall has had tremendous success in eliminating leadership over the years in both al-Qaeda and ISIL. And yet the bench tends to rise to the top."
He further estimated that "somewhere between a couple of days and a couple of weeks, we will see a new leader of the announced."
Travers also suggested that Baghdadi’s death could pave the way for closer ties between Daesh and al-Qaeda.
"There will be eulogies. Those eulogies will come even from al-Qaeda," he predicted.
"I suspect [al-Qaeda chief Ayman] al-Zawahiri will play elder statesman and issue his own… We will see calls for attacks against Western interests. And then we will see requests for the branches and affiliates to swear allegiance to the new leader."