Baghdadi's Death Big Win For Trump Administration's Fight Against Terrorism

The killing of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the supreme commander of the most dreaded terrorist organization that posed the biggest threat to the security of the United States as well as other parts of the world, is seen as a major breakthrough for the Trump administration's fight against terrorism. The elimination of two key Islamic terrorist fugitives during his first term is also a big political boost to President Donald Trump as he faces criticism for his decision to withdraw U.S. troops from northern Syria, and mired in controversies that led to an impeachment inquiry against him. Hamza bin Laden, the son of slain al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, was killed last month. Confirming this, Trump had announced on September 14 that Hamza, described as an emerging leader and heir apparent of the group, was killed in a U.S. counter-terrorism operation in the Afghanistan/Pakistan region. In a White House news conference Sunday, Trump declared that Islamic State chief Al Baghdadi and his three children were killed in what he described as "a dangerous and daring nighttime raid" executed by U.S. Special Operations forces in Northwestern Syria the previous day. "The United States has been searching for Baghdadi for many years," Trump said, adding that he watched much of the raid from the White House Situation Room, accompanied by Vice President Mike Pence and Defense Secretary Mark Esper. Trump said Baghdadi was trapped in a dead-end tunnel and exploded a suicide vest that killed him and three children. "He died like a dog. He died like a coward. The world is now a much safer place." Although his body was mutilated by the blast, DNA test results gave "certain, immediate and totally positive identification it was him." No U.S. personnel were lost in the operation, while a large number of Baghdadi's fighters and companions were killed with him. Trump revealed that after the nearly 2 hours-long mission was accomplished, U.S. forces took highly sensitive material and information from the raid. "Baghdadi's demise demonstrates America's relentless pursuit of terrorist leaders, and our commitment to the enduring and total defeat of ISIS," he said. Trump thanked the governments of Russia, Turkey, Syria, Iraq and the Syrian Kurds for the support they provided for making the operation successful. Baghdadi, who was arguably the world's most-wanted terrorist, has been on the run for many years. The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, took advantage of the Syrian civil war to take territory and proclaimed itself a caliphate holding vast swaths of territory in Syria and Iraq — including Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city. The death of al-Baghdadi comes within a few days of Trump's announcement that the United States is ending its military presence in Syria, except for a small number of U.S. troops that will remain in the country to protect oil facilities.