WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. navy performed an operation towards elusive Islamic State chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi on Saturday, a U.S. official stated, as U.S. President Donald Trump ready to make a “main assertion” on the White Home on Sunday morning.
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to reporters as he departs for journey to South Carolina, on the South Garden of the White Home in Washington, U.S., October 25, 2019. REUTERS/Tom Brenner/File Photograph
The official, talking on situation of anonymity, was unable to say whether or not the operation towards Baghdadi was profitable.
Newsweek stated it had been instructed by a U.S. Military official briefed on the raid that Baghdadi was lifeless. It stated the operation came about in Syria’s northwestern Idlib province, and was carried out by particular operations forces after receiving actionable intelligence.
The official, chatting with Reuters, didn’t disclose particulars of the operation and different U.S. officers contacted by Reuters declined to remark. The Pentagon didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.
White Home spokesman Hogan Gidley introduced late on Saturday that Trump would make a “main assertion” at 9 a.m. EST (1300 GMT) on Sunday.
Gidley gave no additional particulars as to the subject of Trump’s assertion.
The president gave a sign that one thing was afoot earlier on Saturday evening when he tweeted with out rationalization, “One thing very large has simply occurred!”
Trump has been pissed off by the U.S. information media’s heavy give attention to the Democratic-led impeachment inquiry, which he calls an illegitimate witch hunt.
He has additionally confronted withering criticism from each Republicans and Democrats alike for his U.S. troop withdrawal from northeastern Syria, which permitted Turkey to assault America’s Kurdish allies.
Many critics of Trump’s Syria pullout have expressed worries that it will lead the Islamic State militancy to regain power and pose a risk to U.S. pursuits. An announcement about Baghdadi’s loss of life may assist blunt these considerations.
Trump was anticipated to make the assertion within the White Home Diplomatic Reception Room, which he has used to make plenty of main bulletins.
Simply final week he used the identical room to announce ceasefire between Turkey and the Kurds had taken maintain.
For days, U.S. officers had feared that Islamic State would search to capitalize on the upheaval in Syria. However in addition they noticed a possible alternative, during which Islamic State leaders may break from extra secretive routines to speak with operatives, doubtlessly creating an opportunity for the USA and its allies to detect them.
Baghdadi was lengthy thought to hiding someplace alongside the Iraq-Syria border. He has led the group since 2010, when it was nonetheless an underground al Qaeda offshoot in Iraq.
On Sept. 16, Islamic State’s media community issued a 30-minute audio message purporting to return from Baghdadi, during which he stated operations had been happening each day and known as on supporters to free ladies jailed in camps in Iraq and Syria over their alleged hyperlinks to his group.
Within the audio message, Baghdadi additionally stated the USA and its proxies had been defeated in Iraq and Afghanistan, and that the USA had been “dragged” into Mali and Niger.
On the top of its energy Islamic State dominated over tens of millions of individuals in territory operating from northern Syria via cities and villages alongside the Tigris and Euphrates valleys to the outskirts of the Iraqi capital Baghdad.
However the fall in 2017 of Mosul and Raqqa, its strongholds in Iraq and Syria respectively, stripped Baghdadi, an Iraqi, of the trimmings of a caliph and turned him right into a fugitive considered shifting alongside the desert border between Iraq and Syria.
U.S. air strikes killed most of his high lieutenants, and earlier than Islamic State printed a video message of Baghdadi in April there had been conflicting stories over whether or not he was alive.
Regardless of shedding its final important territory, Islamic State is believed to have sleeper cells all over the world, and a few fighters function from the shadows in Syria’s desert and Iraq’s cities.
Reporting by Phil Stewart and Steve Holland; further reporting by Daniel Wallis; Modifying by Lincoln Feast and Kenneth Maxwell