Pentagon provides first detailed account of Baghdadi raid

Pentagon reveals Baghdadi killed two of his own children in suicide vest blast and U.S. forces killed four ‘threatening’ women and two male fighters when they stormed the compound – as video footage of it being obliterated is released

  • The Pentagon provided the first detailed account of the Baghdadi raid at a press conference on Wednesday
  • General Kenneth ‘Frank’ McKenzie, the operational commander of the Delta Force raid, confirmed the death toll of the raid
  • He said Baghdadi killed two of his own children when he detonated his suicide vest and U.S. forces killed six ‘threatening’ Islamic State fighters 
  • The Pentagon also released the first government photos and video clips of the nighttime operation 
  • One video showed Delta Force commandos approaching the walls of the compound in which Baghdadi and others were found 
  • Another video showed U.S. forces bombing the compound after the soldiers completed the mission so that it would not stand as a shrine to Baghdadi 

ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi killed two of his own children when he detonated his suicide vest and U.S. forces killed six Islamic State fighters in the raid on his Syrian compound, the Pentagon has revealed. 

General Kenneth ‘Frank’ McKenzie, who was operational commander of the Delta Force raid, provided the first detailed account of the operation at a Pentagon press conference on Wednesday. 

He confirmed that two of Baghdadi’s children, believed to be under the age of 12, died when the ISIS leader detonated his bomb vest after being cornered by U.S. forces.  

Four ‘threatening’ women wearing suicide vests and two men who refused to surrender inside the compound were killed by U.S. forces, McKenzie said.

The Pentagon on Wednesday also released the first government photos and video clips of the nighttime operation, including one showing Delta Force commandos approaching the walls of the compound in which Baghdadi and others were found. 

Another video showed American airstrikes on other militants who fired at helicopters carrying soldiers to the compound. 

The U.S. also bombed the compound after the soldiers completed the mission so that it would not stand as a shrine to Baghdadi. 

The third video released by the Pentagon showed the drone strike (above) that obliterated Baghdadi’s compound

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi died on Saturday in the Delta Force raid after retreating to a tunnel using his two children as shields and detonating a suicide vest

The approach: U.S. helicopters come under fire from combatants on the ground

In outlining the operation, McKenzie said al-Baghdadi had been at the compound in Syria’s northwest Idlib province for ‘a considerable period’. 

He said the raid was briefed to Trump on Friday and McKenzie made the decision to go ahead on Saturday morning. 

The attacking American force launched from an undisclosed location inside Syria on Saturday for the one-hour helicopter ride to the compound, McKenzie said. 

The first video released on Wednesday showed the assault force helicopters coming under fire from combatants on the ground during the approach to the compound.

McKenzie said that the ground combatants were not believed to be ISIS fighters, but nevertheless presented a threat to the raid team.

He said U.S. forces responded with overwhelming firepower from the assault helicopters.

The video showed the ground combatants scattering as the return fire lit up the ground around them. 

General Kenneth ‘Frank’ McKenzie, who was operational commander of the Delta Force raid, provided the first detailed account of the operation at a Pentagon press conference on Wednesday 

The Pentagon on Wednesday also released the first government photos and video clips of the nighttime operation. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s compound is pictured above prior to the assault

‘He crawled into a hole and blew himself up’: Delta Force storm Baghdadi’s compound and corner him

Among the images released was grainy black-and-white footage of U.S. troops approaching on foot the high-walled compound in northwestern Syria where Baghdadi was holed up. 

The troops approached Baghdadi’s compound from two different directions.

The special operators used tactical munitions to blow holes in the walls of the compound and enter it along with K-9 military dog units. 

McKenzie said that as non-combatants fled the compound, they were detained and checked for explosives and weapons before being released after the raid.

Eleven children were escorted from the site unharmed. 

‘The group was treated humanely at all times and included 11 children,’ McKenzie said. 

‘Despite the violent nature of the raid and the high profile nature of this assault, every effort was made to prevent civilian casualties, and to protect the children we suspected would be at the compound.’  

Six ISIS members inside the compound attempted to fight back as the U.S. forces breached the building. 

The four women and two men were all killed by U.S. forces. McKenzie said the women were wearing suicide vests and acted in a ‘threatening manner’.  

As the Delta Force operators closed in, Baghdadi retreated into a dead-end tunnel in the compound using two of his own children as human shields. 

‘He crawled into a hole with two small children and blew himself up while his people stayed on the grounds,’ he said when asked about Baghdadi’s final moments and Trump’s description of the ISIS leader as ‘whimpering and crying and screaming all the way’ to his death. 

‘When capture at the hands of U.S. forces was imminent, Baghdadi detonated a bomb killing himself and two young children,’ McKenzie said.  

The first video released on Wednesday showed the assault force helicopters coming under fire from combatants on the ground during the approach to the compound 

McKenzie said that the ground combatants were not believed to be ISIS fighters, but nevertheless presented a threat to the raid team. He said U.S. forces responded with overwhelming firepower from the assault helicopters 

Among the images released was grainy black-and-white footage of U.S. troops approaching on foot the high-walled compound in northwestern Syria where Baghdadi was holed up 

He clarified that initial reports that three children had been killed were incorrect due to a mistaken report up the chain of command. He said the children appeared to be under the age of 12. 

No U.S. forces were killed but a military dog named Conan was injured in the raid.

Conan is a four-year veteran with U.S. Special Operations Command and had been on approximately 50 combat missions.

McKenzie said a military dog named Conan was injured in the raid. The dog was injured when it came in contact with exposed live electrical cables in the tunnel after Baghdadi detonated his vest

The dog was injured when it came in contact with exposed live electrical cables in the tunnel after Baghdadi detonated his vest, but he has returned to duty, McKenzie said.

President Donald Trump tweeted that the dog will leave the Middle East soon and visit the White House next week.

The total death toll of the attack was eight: Baghdadi, five other ISIS members, and the two children killed by Baghdadi’s suicide bomb.

Other individuals were killed when militant groups in the area, unconnected to ISIS, became aware of the assault and began moving toward the compound with ‘hostile intent’, McKenzie said. 

McKenzie said that two men at the compound were detained and extracted by the assault force. 

Though the general did not confirm it, at least one of the men removed from the compound is thought to be the ISIS mole whose inside information led U.S. forces to Baghdadi. 

Identifying Baghdadi via DNA, seizing evidence and obliterating his compound

Baghdadi was identified on site by comparing his DNA to a sample collected in 2004 by U.S. forces in Iraq where he had been detained. 

The team gathered evidence and secured Baghdadi’s remains for further DNA testing after the field DNA test positively identified him. 

The assault force spent about two hours at the compound following the raid.

The U.S. managed to collect ‘substantial’ amounts of documentation and electronics during the raid, McKenzie said, but he would not elaborate. Such efforts are a standard feature of raids against high-level extremist targets and can be useful in learning more about the group’s plans.  

The special operators used tactical munitions to blow holes in the walls of the compound and enter it along with K-9 military dog units

Following a raid on a compound in Syria occupied by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, U.S. special operations forces deploy precision munitions from a U.S. remotely piloted aircraft to destroy the compound and its contents

After the assault force cleared the compound and left with the two detainees, standoff missiles were fired at the compound, destroying the building and its contents. 

‘It looks pretty much like a large parking lot with potholes right now,’ McKenzie said.

The third video released by the Pentagon showed the drone strike that obliterated Baghdadi’s compound. 

Baghdadi’s remains were buried at sea within 24 hours of the raid in accordance with the international laws of warfare, McKenzie said. 

DNA from the remains was further analyzed at a Defense Intelligence Agency laboratory and compared against a known sample taken when Baghdadi was detained at Camp Bucca in Iraq in 2004.

The analysis indicated a confirmed match, with a probability of 1 in 104 septillion that anyone else could match the known DNA profile. 

‘Which is certainly, beyond a shadow of a doubt,’ McKenzie said.

Although the raid was successful, McKenzie said it would be a mistake to conclude that ISIS has been defeated.

‘It will take them some time to re-establish someone to lead the organization, and during that period of time their actions may be a little bit disjointed,’ the general said. 

‘They will be dangerous. We suspect they will try some form of retribution attack, and we are postured and prepared for that.’ 

The third video released by the Pentagon showed the drone strike that obliterated Baghdadi’s compound 

Before and after pictures of the isolated compound were also released. An overview of the compound is shown before (left) and after (right) the raid

After the assault force cleared the compound and left with the two detainees, standoff missiles were fired at the compound, destroying the building and its contents 

Source: Read Full Article