President Trump addressed the nation yesterday from the White House to announce US special forces had killed the infamous ISIS leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. In his address, President Trump said al-Baghdadi died “like a dog” in a nighttime raid by United States special forces in northwest Syria. Additionally, a “large number” of Islamic militants were also killed in the raid.
President Trump gave details of the mission, saying al-Baghdadi was cornered in a tunnel, where he detonated a suicide vest. “He died after running into a dead-end tunnel, whimpering and crying and screaming all the way.” President Trump and his advisers monitored the raid from the White House Situation Room. Three of al-Baghdadi’s children were also killed I’m the tunnel blast.
Trump thanked the Syrian Kurds for their support and said the raid involved “eight helicopters flying more than an hour from an undisclosed base” as well as cooperation from “Russia, Syria, Turkey and Iraq.” While taking questions from reporters, Trump was asked if he had notified Pelosi before the raid, he said he had not for fear that leaks could compromise the mission and he did not want any members of the U.S. forces to die.
Leaving no time to let the world celebrate al-Baghdadi’s death, Pelosi issued a scathing statement:
The House must be briefed on this raid, which the Russians but not top Congressional Leadership were notified of in advance, and on the Administration’s overall strategy in the region…Our military and allies deserve strong, smart and strategic leadership from Washington.
Trump said he only notified Russia that the United States would be active in the region because they currently have military presence there. Trump said he did not, however, reveal the purpose of the mission.