27 October 2019 18:33
From the moment in July 2014 when he ascended the minbar (pulpit) in a mosque in Mosul, clad in black robes, to claim the title of caliph of the Muslim world, until his death on Sunday during a raid by US forces, Ibrahim Awad Ibrahim al-Badri, better known by his nom de guerre, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, was the most wanted and feared man on the planet. He also believed that his deeds in Iraq and Syria, and the violent cause he was leading, had outperformed the contemporary jihadist leaders who had come before him, including Osama bin Laden, and Baghdadi's immediate predecessors in Iraq, Abu Omar al-Baghdadi and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Before he proclaimed himself Caliph Ibrahim, leader of the Islamic State across a swathe of land the size of Jordan, that straddled the Iraqi and Syrian borders, Baghdadi had spent the best part of a decade of his life preparing for such a day. By mid-2012, he had moved jihadists into Syria, and from later that year until mid-2013, a core group of Iraqi insurgent leaders steadily organised into what would soon be the most potent terrorist force in the Middle East – with the possible exception of Hezbollah in Lebanon. In April 2013, when Baghdadi's forces deemed themselves ready, they announced that the Islamic State in Iraq and Sham (Isis) was to oust another jihadist group, Jabhat al-Nusra.
Washington (CNN) President Donald Trump declared Sunday morning that ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was dead after a US military raid in northwest Syria over the weekend. The President said a US special operations forces mission went after the ISIS leader and there were no US deaths during the operation. The death of Baghdadi marks the culmination of a years-long hunt to find one of the most wanted terrorists in the world and the man who declared a so-called Islamic caliphate in Iraq and Syria in 2014. The President said "immediate" and "totally positive" test results proved it was Baghdadi, saying a lab technician on the scene of the raid confirmed the ISIS leader's death. Trump described the situation, saying the ISIS leader "spent his last moments in utter fear, in total panic and dread, terrified of the American forces bearing down on him." Gen. Marcus Evans, Deputy Director for Special Operations on the Joint Staff, at right, Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019, in the Situation Room of the White House monitoring developments as U.S. Special Operations forces close in on notorious ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's compound in Syria.
CNN reported early Sunday morning that Baghdadi was believed to have been killed in the raid, according to a senior US defense official and a source with knowledge. Baghdadi became the leader of Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) in 2010. The Islamic State leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, has been killed in a raid by US special forces on his Syrian safe house, Donald Trump has announced, ending a years-long manhunt for one of the world's most-wanted terrorists. Trump said the "impeccable" two-hour operation was conducted on Saturday night in the province of Idlib, one of the few areas of the country still outside Syrian regime control, and that US officials had confirmed Baghdadi, 48, was among those killed. "US special operations forces executed a dangerous and daring night-time raid in north-west Syria and accomplished their mission in grand style," he said. Cornered, Baghdadi detonated a suicide vest and killed himself and three of his children, Trump said. Iraqi officials told the Guardian the hunt for Baghdadi had intensified over the past month since they identified a Syrian man who had moved his family members and wives from Iraq to Syria. In July 2014, shortly after Isis said it had established a caliphate in Iraq and Syria, Baghdadi delivered a sermon from a mosque in the captured Iraqi city of Mosul. The US national security adviser, Robert O'Brien, said the operation to kill the Isis leader had been named after Mueller, a humanitarian worker who was imprisoned by the group, tortured and repeatedly sexually abused by Baghdadi himself. Trump said Baghdadi was "the biggest there is", casting the operation as the US's greatest counter-terrorism feat, greater even than the killing of the al-Qaeda leader, Osama Bin Laden, under his predecessor, Barack Obama. Photograph: Ghaith Alsayed/AP