The most wanted man in the world, considered responsible for multiple atrocities in Iraq and Syria, reportedly killed himself during a US military operation.
The head of the Islamic State (IS), Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, was killed during a US night military operation in northwestern Syria, the Americans announce, by the voice of Donald Trump this Sunday 27th October 2019.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 27, 2019
Early in the morning, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (OSDH), which has an extensive network of sources on the ground, had also reported an operation of American commandos helicopters and landed in the night in the Idleb region (north-west) to “target senior leaders of the Islamic State group. ”
“He died like a coward”
“Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is dead,” Donald Trump said in a speech from the White House.
The US president delivered a detailed account of the raid in which the IS leader was cornered by US forces and blew himself up with his explosive belt.
“He did not die like a hero, he died like a coward. He blew himself up with his jacket laden with explosives as he took refuge in a tunnel dug for protection. Three of his children died with him. He died after running through a dead end tunnel, moaning, crying and screaming”
The most wanted man in the world, considered responsible for multiple atrocities and atrocities in Iraq and Syria and bloody attacks in several countries, had been several times announced dead in recent years.
The territorial “caliphate” of the IS was defeated in March in its last reduction in Syria.
Intense military activity
Eight helicopters targeted after midnight a house and a car on the outskirts of the Baricha Village, only Turkish distance from the frontera, in AFP called the director of the OSDH, which is at least nine dead, including two women and one child, without being able to tell if the head of the IS was in the area.
Abdelhamid, a resident of Baricha, visited the affected area very early Sunday morning:
“There is a collapsed house, tents and a damaged civilian car with two dead inside”
Near Baricha, an AFP correspondent was able to see the carcass of a charred minibus hit by bombing.
Some journalists were able to briefly approach the ruins of this totally destroyed house. Excavators were at work to clear the rubble.
This development comes at a time of intense military activity in northern Syria, where Turkish forces launched a massive offensive against Kurdish forces on 9th October.
For their part, Damascus and its Russian ally have accelerated the deployment of their troops on the Turkish border, while the Americans have announced the sending of military reinforcements in the eastern oil of Syria.
The last appearance of Baghdadi, the first in five years, goes back to a propaganda video of April 29 where he calls his followers to continue the fight.
In September, he called in an audio recording his supporters to “save” jihadists held in jails and their families living in IDP camps including Syria and Iraq.
It was in Mosul, Iraq, that the IS leader made his only known public appearance in July 2014 at the al-Nouri mosque.
His real name is Ibrahim Awad al-Badri, the head of the IS was born in 1971 in a poor family in the Baghdad region. Passionate about football, he failed to become a lawyer and military before studying theology.
It was during the US invasion of Iraq in 2003 that he created a small jihadist group with little radiation before being arrested and imprisoned in the gigantic prison of Bucca.
Released for lack of evidence, he joined a Sunni guerrilla group under the tutelage of Al Qaeda and took the lead a few years later. Taking advantage of the chaos of the civil war, his fighters settled in Syria in 2013 before a blazing offensive in Iraq.
The group, renamed Islamic State, is supplanting Al Qaeda, while its initial military successes and carefully crafted propaganda have attracted thousands of supporters around the world before the defeat.