What Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's death means for the future of IS

Here's How The CIA Learned About al-Baghdadi's Whereabouts

Source AP

Trump also said the USA forces involved in the operation will be invited to the White House.

Following the intense backlash to the headline characterization, which could have included how he was a serial rapist, the headline was changed a third time as well, "Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, extremist leader of Islamic State, dies at 48".

Given the gruesome nature of Baghdadi's death, it was unlikely the US military followed as complete a process as it did after Navy SEALs killed al Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden in a 2011 raid into Pakistan. Warrick is a national security reporter for the Washington Post and Pulitzer-prize winning author of Black Flags: The Rise Of ISIS.

Abdi said the operation targeted al-Muhajir in a village near Jarablus, a town in northwestern Syria.

President Trump defended his decision Monday not to notify congressional Democratic leaders in advance of a top-secret mission to kill a terrorist leader, saying Democrats leak to the media.

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"His body was mutilated by the blast", Trump said, but he added that tests had confirmed his identity. The Iraqis say they found a weapon, medical bags, religious books and a small handbag containing maps and hand-drawn locations inside the cache.

Baghdadi had always been sought by the United States - which offered a $25 million reward - as leader of a jihadist group that at one point controlled large areas of Syria and Iraq, where it declared a caliphate. Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman said the helicopters likely belonged to the US-led military coalition that has been fighting the bloodthirsty terror group in Syria.

Al-Baghdadi's death will not rid the world of terrorism or end Syria's ongoing conflict, but it sends "a message to those who would question America's resolve", he said. He could not identify who was behind the strikes or if they were carried out by warplanes or a drone.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) applauded efforts of the Kurds and other allies rather than US forces or President Trump.

Milley said he could not confirm Trump's claim that Baghdadi had been "whimpering and crying" as he fled United States forces in a tunnel at the compound.

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After announcing al-Baghdadi's death, Trump said it was important to describe his last moments in vivid terms so as to deter would-be ISIS fighters.

Turkey said it was proud to have helped "bring a notorious terrorist to justice", but Russia's response was sceptical, with the defence ministry in Moscow saying that it had no reliable information on the U.S. raid and observing there had been previous attempts to kill al-Baghdadi.

Since 2016, the United States had offered a reward of up to $25 million for information to help bring Baghdadi to justice.

Trump said at his news conference that he intentionally had not notified congressional leaders because he was anxious about leaks. Al-Muhajir was killed by a U.S. airstrike on Sunday afternoon, only hours after Baghdadi's demise.

Baghdadi's death in the operation, military officials told the outlet, "occurred largely in spite of, and not because of, Mr. Trump's actions".

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Asked about how hard the al-Baghdadi raid would have been without American service members in Syria and Iraq, Esper said the USA military has "incredible reach".

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