The takedown of al-Baghdadi
October 27, 2019 - President Trump said in a nationally televised address on Sunday that American forces had killed Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the head of the Islamic State group, in Syria.
Trump said Baghdadi was chased to the end of an underground tunnel, pursued by American military dogs. Accompanied by three children, Baghdadi then detonated a suicide vest, blowing up himself and the children.
In February 2018, one of the Islamic State leader’s top aides, Ismael al-Ethawi, was arrested by Turkish authorities and handed to Iraqi intelligence. Ethawi gave information on places that Baghdadi used to hide.
Another breakthrough came in May, during a joint operation in which U.S., Turkish and Iraqi intelligence agents captured five senior Islamic State leaders. Under interrogation, they released locations where they had met with Baghdadi inside Syria and revealed that Baghdadi was moving from village to village around Idlib with his family and three close aides.
For five months, the CIA used a satellite and drones to search for Baghdad. On October 24, Baghdadi was seen with his family, travelling by minibus to a compound in the village of Marisha.
By 17:00 on October 26, eight U.S. aircraft, mostly twin-rotor CH-47 Chinook helicopters, has taken off from Al-Asad airbase in western Iraq, carrying Delta Force commandos.
After Baghdadi exploded his suicide vest, lab technicians conducted an onsite DNA test on body parts and positively identified the remains as Baghdadi.
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