Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, head of the Islamic State (IS) terrorist militia, has been killed in Syria, according to US President Donald Trump. Al-Baghdadi was killed in an operation by American special forces in northwestern Syria, Trump said in a White House address Sunday morning. Many of his fighters were killed. American soldiers were not harmed. Al-Baghdadi died when he detonated an explosives vest during the operation.
As Trump further reported, al-Baghdadi detonated an explosives vest during the attack, killing himself and three of his children. Tests have since confirmed that the dead person is al-Baghdadi.
According to Trump, the military operation killed a “large number” of IS fighters and al-Baghdadi’s companions. According to the president, eight American helicopters had landed at the site of al-Baghdadi. The IS chief had then fled into a tunnel, where he “dragged” three of his small children with him. Then he had the explosives vest detonated.
According to Trump, the American soldiers spent about two hours in the estate. They would have found important material, including about the “future plans” of the IS.
Several times declared dead
Commander of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) Mazlum Abdi wrote on Twitter that Bagdadi’s death was the result of more than five months of intelligence cooperation. The IS chief was then killed in a joint operation. The SDF, which is dominated by the Kurdish militia YPG, has been the most important ally of the US armed forces in the fight against IS. Most recently, however, this alliance came under considerable pressure.
Trump has been criticized for weeks for withdrawing American forces from the northern Syrian border region to Turkey. He paved the way for a Turkish offensive against the YPG in the region. Trump was also accused by his own Republican party of abandoning the allied Kurdish militia.
The whereabouts of the already several times declared dead IS chief was unknown. With $25 million bounty left by the United States, Al-Baghdadi has been one of the most wanted terrorists in the world. Most recently, IS had broadcast a video with Al-Baghdadi in April threatening to attack the West.
Biography of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi
Details about the biography of Abu Bakr al-Bagdadi, the self-styled “Caliph Ibrahim”, should be treated with caution. Often they can not be verified. For a long time, hardly anyone knew what the chief of the IS is like, as there were only two photos of him.
A few days after the proclamation of the caliphate at the end of June 2014, he appeared in a completely unexpected manner in a mosque in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, where he gave the Friday sermon. But after that he did not show himself for a long time. Again and again there were rumors that he was injured in attacks or even killed. Only in April – after the final disintegration of the proclaimed by the IS caliphate – he showed himself a second time in a video. In between, the IS occasionally spread audio messages from its leader.
Al-Baghdadi was born in 1971 in the Iraqi city of Samarra. He graduated in Islamic Studies from the University of Baghdad. After the fall of long-time ruler Saddam Hussein in 2003, he spent some time in an American prison in Iraq.
In 2010, Al-Baghdadi took over the leadership of the Al-Qaeda branch in Iraq, then called “Islamic State in Iraq”. Gradually, the group began to expand to Syria. Al-Bagdadi broke with Al-Qaeda because he did not want to accept the terrorist network’s demand to limit itself to Iraq.
With the proclamation of the caliphate, the terrorist militia renamed itself Islamic State. Linked to this was the claim to unite and lead all Muslims worldwide. However, ISIS gradually lost its dominion in Iraq and Syria. Officially, the IS was defeated with the fall of its last retreat in the East Syrian Baghus.
Only a few months ago, however, the United States-led anti-IS coalition claimed that between 14,000 and 18,000 IS members were still in the former extremist dominion between Syria and Iraq. Meanwhile, IS-Offshoots are active in numerous countries.