The U.S. Department of Defense released a video of the raid that killed ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
Marine Corps Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr., the head of the U.S. Central Command, gave a play-by-play of the special operations forces raid in northern Syria that, according to President Donald Trump, ended with al-Baghdadi detonating his suicide vest. He and several of his children died.
“Those who came out of the building were checked for weapons and explosives and moved away,” McKenzie said in a news release. “U.S. forces detained and later released the noncombatants. The group was treated humanely at all times, and included 11 children.”
He said that five ISIS members continued to be a threat to the military force.
“They did not respond to commands in Arabic to surrender,” he remarked, “and they continued to threaten the force. They were engaged by the raid force and killed: four women and one man.”
That’s when U.S. forces located al-Baghdadi inside a tunnel in the compound. He detonated a suicide vest and killed himself along with several children who were with him.
“…at the compound, fighters from two locations in the vicinity of the compound began firing on U.S. aircraft participating in the assault.”
– Gen Frank McKenzie CDR USCENTCOM pic.twitter.com/SkrtHNDs7w
— U.S. Central Command (@CENTCOM) October 30, 2019
“After Baghdadi’s murder/suicide, the assault force cleared debris from the tunnel and secured Baghdadi’s remains for DNA verification,” McKenzie stated, adding that his remains were positively identified.
Al-Baghdadi’s body was then buried at sea, in accordance with the law of armed conflict, the general said.
The compound was then destroyed by military aircraft so militants cannot use it as a shrine to the terrorist leader.
“It looks like a parking lot with big potholes,” McKenzie said.
The compound where al-Baghdadi was staying is located about 4 miles from the Syria-Turkey border, the general also said, according to reports.
McKenzie said the U.S. troop withdrawal in Syria and Turkey’s incursion into northern Syria didn’t have an adverse impact on the mission. “Absolutely not,” is what McKenzie replied when asked.
“We chose the time based on a variety of factors, weather, certainty, lunar data, a variety of things,” he told the Military Times. “And while might have been convenient to use bases there, the United States military has the capability to go almost anywhere and support ourselves, even at great distances, so that was not a limiting factor. We struck because the time was about right to do it then, given the totality of the intelligence, and the other factors that would affect the raid force going in and coming out.”
President Donald Trump ultimately confirmed the death of al-Baghdadi in a Sunday morning press conference, praising a military working dog who was wounded during the ISIS leader’s suicide bombing.
According to the Military Times report, McKenzie remarked that CENTCOM, or the U.S. Central Command, has “no illusions” that ISIS will attempt to stage another attack or attacks in the wake of al-Baghdadi’s death.