Baghdadi's death: More details emerge from United States raid

Tuesday, 29 Oct, 2019

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. Mr. Schiff is also leading the House Democrats' impeachment inquiry of the president.

The president also suggested he might release some footage of the raid.

President Trump declassified a photo of one of the dogs used to track down ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in Syria over the weekend in a raid that led to the terrorist mastermind's suicide.

During his press conference on Sunday announcing the ISIS leader's death, Trump described the grisly details of al-Baghdadi's suicide via bomb vest during the raid in northwestern Syria.

Trump's decision to pull back US troops from northeastern Syria raised a storm of bipartisan criticism in Washington, including statements that the American pullout could help IS regain strength after losing all the territory it once controlled. "So we knew when the president authorized it, and we had some discussions that it was likely to happen, and then got a call after it happened". "He's a leaker like nobody's ever seen before".

"I would not rule out the potential of Islamic State propagandists timing the release of statements about al-Baghdadi's death to correspond with a high-profile terrorist operation somewhere in the world", Smith, who has provided expert testimony on the group to a United States Senate Committee, said.

The UN Monitoring Team on terrorist groups is going to put questions to the USA and other involved parties to clarify the fate of al-Baghdadi, Edmund Fitton-Brown, a British diplomat who coordinates the team, told RIA Novosti news agency.

The president acknowledged that he had informed some Republicans in Congress, including Senate Intelligence chair Richard Burr and Senator Lindsey Graham, a frequent Trump supporter who had been critical of his recent Syrian policies.

Typically, the White House informs select lawmakers - known as the Gang of Eight - about classified intelligence matters.

"Looking at the track record of these radical groups, when [al-Qaeda leader in Iraq Abu Musab] al-Zarqawi was killed, the group was very quick in appointing another person to be in charge; when Osama bin Laden was killed, al-Qaeda was also very quick to appoint someone else in his place - I think we will hear the same thing from ISIL", he told Al Jazeera.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is demanding the White House provide lawmakers with a briefing on the raid, complaining that the US notified Russian Federation but kept top congressional Democrats in the dark.

"The defence ministry does not have reliable information about the actions of the USA army in the Idlib "de-escalation" zone. concerning the umpteenth "death" of Baghdadi, Russian defence ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said in a statement. "Al-Muhajir was in Jarablus to facilitate Baghdadi's entry to Euphrates Shield area", referring to a zone in northern Syria controlled by Turkey's Syria proxies.

Since 2014 IS have carefully worked to condition its jihadist fighters and supporters that the group's senior-most figures will be killed, Smith said. Although the USA declared the "caliphate" defeated earlier this year, IS militants remain active in the region and elsewhere.

It is hard to gauge at this point what, if any, political benefit Mr Trump will reap from al-Baghdadi's death.