WASHINGTON, Oct. 27 (Reuters / EP) –
The president of the United States, Donald Trump, announced on Sunday the death of the Islamic State leader , Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, in an operation of the US special forces in northern Syria carried out on Saturday night. Trump has described the attack in great detail during a public appearance at the White House on 'Operation Kayla Mueller', an American cooperator cruelly veiled and murdered in Syria after falling to the Islamic State.
The United States received the first intelligence reports on the location of Al Baghdadi about a month ago primarily through the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDS), used by Washington as a shock force in the fight against the jihadist group.
From these data the secret services managed two weeks ago to “find out” their exact location so that Trump was finally informed of the operation already prepared three days ago. The plan required Russia's permission to fly over the airspace it controls, although Trump himself has explained that they did not inform Moscow of the nature or purpose of the attack. Yes, they were told they would like to.
Trump arrived at the White House on Saturday at 4.30 p.m. (10.30 p.m. in Syria) after playing golf in Virginia and at 5 p.m. he met in the Operating Room of the White House with Vice President Mike Pence; Defense Secretary Mark Esper; National Security adviser Robert O'Brien and other senior military officials to follow the operation live. “It was as if we were watching a movie,” Trump explained.
Moments after their arrival, the military took off in eight helicopters from a military base in the Middle East – some sources point to it being from Iraq – and arrived in Idlib with the support of other aircraft and ships, according to Trump. The military also carried a military robot, although they did not finally use it.
When they approached the place where Al Baghdadi was, they began to be shot, but managed to cancel the defenses and land safe and sound. The commands entered in just a few seconds flying one of the walls of the building for the suspicion that the main door could have a trap. “They gave us the information minute by minute,” he said.
Quickly, they took the place “with people who either gave up or were shot and died,” Trump said. Eleven minors were evacuated unharmed and handed over to a “third party” that Trump did not want to identify. Several Islamic State fighters were captured and imprisoned by the US military.
Al Baghdadi fled to an underground area carrying three of his young children. Esper has explained on CNN that US forces urged Al Baghdadi to surrender, but he refused. Pursued by the dogs and in the absence of an exit in the tunnel, Al Baghdadi “whining, crying and screaming” – in Trump's words – activated the bomb vest he was carrying, which killed him and his children and caused The sinking of the tunnel. No military was injured, although one of the dogs does have serious injuries.
The military then accessed the body of Al Baghdadi, “mutilated by the explosions” and used a DNA test that confirmed his identity in just 15 minutes. “The test results allowed a secure, immediate and fully confirmed identification. It was him,” Trump explained.
The Americans searched the complex and made “very sensitive material,” such as information on the origin of the Islamic State and its future plans. The operation lasted about two hours until they finally boarded the helicopters again and returned by the same path. The complex has been destroyed to prevent it from becoming a place of pilgrimage.
Al Baghdadi's body will be “properly managed,” explained National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien, who has hinted that the same protocol will be followed as with former al Qaeda leader Usama bin Laden, who was killed in Pakistan in 2011. Bin Laden's body was thrown into the Arabian Sea after several consultations with experts in Islamic law and rituals.