ISIS Leader Slain in Bin-Laden-esque Compound Raid

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Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, leader and self-proclaimed caliph of ISIS was killed in Idlib Governorate, northern Syria. On the 26th of October, US military forces, including elite Delta Force elements, conducted a nighttime raid on his compound where he was entrenched with a number of family members, including children.

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi during his first public appearance in Mosul, Iraq in 2014 (via The Star)

The operation was kept top secret from all but a small contingent of US military and intelligence officials, even as President Donald Trump went about his day attending the World Series and hosted a golf match with the Major League Baseball Commissioner and senators Lindsey Graham and David Perdue at his estate.

Behind the scenes, though, President Trump had a live feed via helmet cam of the impending operation, dubbed Operation Mueller after a humanitarian worker who was taken captive by ISIS militants and killed.

Eight US military helicopters flew low over the Idlib Governorate of Northern Syria to the small village of Barisha, near the Turkish border. US Army Rangers and Delta Forces were met with gunfire as they approached the compound, as locals report militants firing over the edge of a balcony of the compound.

Upon approaching the compound, the outer wall was breached to avoid the booby-trapped entrances. Fighting their way inside, attack dogs chased Al-Baghdadi into a dead-end tunnel with three of his children. He detonated his suicide vest, killing himself, his three children, injuring one attack dog, and partially collapsing the tunnel. He spent his final moments “whimpering and crying,” as President Trump described it. Later, it was also announced that Al-Baghdadi’s most likely successor was killed in a drone strike that Sunday.

The world’s leaders congratulated the American military and administration on their historic step forward in the fight against terrorism. Some did, as is usually the case, find some way to fit a jab in at the US and their history of foreign policy in the Middle East. Iran’s Minister of Information is quoted as saying the US simply “killed its own creature.”

Conan, a female Belgian Malinois that took part in the raid. (via Wikipedia)

However, this is far from the end of ISIS. In fact, France has put multiple sporting events on heightened security for fear of retaliation by what remains of the group. Even with ISIS’ chain of command severely weakened, the group is still a dangerous, decentralized entity. As such, this does not by any means spell the end of ISIS, but it still remains to be seen how effectively the group can function and pose a threat after suffering such a devastating blow.