On Wednesday, in a follow up to the US Special Forces raid that resulted in the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the Commander of US CENTCOM (Central Command) General Kenneth F. Mckenzie provided more details to Americans regarding the operation, including some declassified video from the raid.
General McKenzie said that Baghdadi was the subject of an intense investigation into his whereabouts, with details of his location becoming clear very recently.
After receiving actionable intelligence regarding his location, a plan was designed to capture or kill him.
A special team of elite forces was assembled to prepare for the mission. The mission design was simple, yet risky: Stage a helicopter assault by special operation forces, and use state-of-the-art technologies and techniques to keep ISIS from detecting them and to avoid civilian casualties.
Upon reaching the compound, ISIS fighters in two locations began firing upon US aircraft participating in the assault. After surrounding the compound, the US forces urged people inside to come out peacefully. General McKenzie made clear that every precaution possible was taken to ensure that innocent people, especially children inside the compound, would remain unharmed.
Upon US forces entering the compound, Baghdadi took three children and fled to a tunnel beneath it. After reaching a dead-end inside the tunnel, and US forces, including a canine unit, bearing down on him, Baghdadi detonated a suicide vest, killing himself and the three children that were with him.
The US assault force then cleared debris from the tunnel and retrieved Baghdadi’s remains for DNA identity confirmation. The DNA results showed a positive match. Baghdadi’s remains were then buried at sea, following a religious ritual.
“This operation was exquisitely planned and executed,” said General McKenzie. It demonstrates the United States’ global reach and our unwavering commitment to destroy ISIS.”
General McKenzie lauded the people whose names have not been released who played crucial roles that ensured the success of the operation. “The individuals who planned and conducted the mission are quiet professionals, focused on their mission above glory and recognition. Committed people did hard, risky work, and they did it well,” he said.