US releases first images from raid that killed al-Baghdadi


The US military has released declassified images and video from the raid in Northern Syria that resulted in the death of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi over the weekend.

The video showed troops firing at militants on the ground as they flew towards the compound where al-Baghdadi was hiding before they moved in on the ground.

Baghdadi fled into a tunnel and killed himself by detonating a suicide vest.

Head of US Central Command, Gen Kenneth McKenzie, said two children had died with Baghdadi in the tunnel – not three as previously reported.

“Baghdadi detonated a bomb he wore killing himself and two young children that were with him. The number two is a change, we originally thought there were three children with him,” Gen McKenzie added.

He said the IS leader’s remains were flown back to a staging base for identification and were then buried at sea within 24 hours of his death “in accordance with the laws of armed conflict”.

Although the operation was a success, McKenzie said it would be a mistake to conclude that ISIL had been defeated.

“It will take them some time to re-establish someone to lead the organisation, and during that period of time their actions may be a little bit disjointed,” the general said. “They will be dangerous. We suspect they will try some form of retribution attack, and we are postured and prepared for that.”

Baghdadi’s was identified by comparing his DNA to a sample collected in 2004 when he was captured by US forces in Iraq.

Once the mission was completed, the US moved to destroy the compound in northwestern Syria so that it could not stand as a shrine to al-Baghdadi.

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