The current leader of ISIS, Abu Kakr al-Baghdadi, is dead after a raid by U.S. forces in Syria in the northwestern province of Idlib, a known terrorist stronghold.
The operation was coordinated with all of the players in the area, including the Syrian Kurds, Russia, Syria and Iraq.
U.S. forces had known about a tunnel system under the compound and followed al-Baghdadi into it. When he realized he was cornered, al-Baghdadi triggered his suicide vest. U.S. forces suspected that he might be wearing the suicide vest and had robots available to follow al-Baghdadi into the tunnel, however events were moving too fast to use the robot, so U.S. Special Forces followed him in, knowing that the tunnels were a dead end. No U.S. personnel were lost in the raid.
Al-Bagdadi took three of his children into the tunnel with him and killed them along with himself.
Trump said that Al Baghdadi dies “whimpering and screaming” as a coward.
Several other ISIS fighters were killed, and 11 children were moved off of the compound.
Author’s note: al-Baghdadi was a highly intelligent, highly religious, but brutal and sadistic leader of ISIS, responsible for thousands of deaths and the instability of the region. President Trump reminded us that al-Baghdadi was responsible for capturing a Jordanian pilot, putting him in a cage and setting him on fire.
It is tough to say how his death will affect the organization and the effectiveness of ISIS. Often when a leader is killed, the vacuum is filled by the most brutal possible successor. However, it is unlikely that al-Baghdadi will be replaced by someone who is more intelligent or who is a better strategist. This is indeed good news and it sends the message that no terrorist is safe.