Trump Says Baghdadi’s Top Replacement Also ‘Terminated’
Washington: President Donald Trump on Tuesday said the US had “terminated” the “number one replacement” to ISIS leader and world’s most terrorist Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi who was killed in an American raid in Syria.
President Trump announced on Sunday that Baghdadi, believed to be 48-year-old, blew himself in his suicide vest as the ISIS leader was chased to the dead-end of a tunnel by the US service dogs during a raid by American special forces in northwest Syria.
“Just confirmed that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s number one replacement has been terminated by American troops. Most likely would have taken the top spot – Now he is also Dead!” Trump tweeted.
Baghdadi had not officially named his successor, but several names were being speculated after his death.
Trump told reporters on Sunday that the US knew the potential successors of Baghdadi and was after them.
The president, however, did not specify who the individual was, nor did he give any details on the mission that led to his death.
Multiple media reports from the region have identified him as Abu Hassan al-Muhajir.
According to The New York Times, he was being smuggled across northern Syria in the back of an oil tanker truck when it was hit by what witnesses said they believed to be an American airstrike.
“Little is known about him, including his real name and nationality, complicating efforts to confirm that he was the one killed in Sunday’s strike. But terrorism experts considered him a possible successor to al-Baghdadi,” the report said.
Under Baghdadi, ISIS spread over wide segments of Iraq and Syria beginning in 2013, eventually claiming the formation of a “caliphate” in the region as it plotted and carried out gruesome attacks that reached far beyond its main territorial bastion.
Baghdadi had been a top target for both the Trump and Obama administrations and had a USD 25 million bounty placed on his head.