Trump: ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is dead

By James Griffiths, Joe Ruiz, Eliza Mackintosh and Fernando Alfonso III, CNN

Updated 7:40 a.m. ET, October 28, 2019
58 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
6:23 p.m. ET, October 27, 2019

Trump to attend Game 5 of the World Series

By Joe Ruiz, CNN

Fresh off his announcement of the operation that killed ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, President Donald Trump will watch the World Series from behind home plate, a source tells CNN.

Trump will be seated in a suite behind home plate at Nationals Park with "friendly members of Congress," a source familiar tells CNN's Noah Gray. First lady Melania Trump will join the President at the game, White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham tells CNN's Kate Bennett.

The Trumps will be accompanied in the suite by House Minority Whip and Louisiana Rep. Steve Scalise, Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz and South Carolina Sen. Lindsay Graham, who was in the room Sunday morning as Trump told the nation about the Saturday operation.

The Washington Post reports that Trump will arrive after the ceremonial first pitch to alleviate the crush of fans entering Nationals Park due to the enhanced security measures.

Trump had been asked about throwing out the first pitch at tonight's game, but he declined, joking on Thursday that he'd be dressed in "a lot of heavy armor." As CNN's Kyle Feldscher wrote on Friday, the longtime baseball fan has thrown first pitches before, including one at a minor league game where he landed his helicopter in center field before throwing a strike.

Tonight's Game 5 between the Houston Astros and the Washington Nationals is slated to begin at 8:07 p.m., ET. The road team has won each of the previous four games. Regardless of tonight's outcome, there will be a Game 6 in Houston on Tuesday night.

5:42 p.m. ET, October 27, 2019

House Foreign Affairs chairman over Trump's refusal to tell Democrats about Baghdadi raid: "Problematic and insulting"

By Joe Ruiz, CNN

The list of Democratic leaders in Congress upset over being left out of prior notification of the daring raid that led to the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi keeps growing.

Rep. Eliot Engel, the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs committee, praised the special operations team and intelligence officials involved in the raid, as well as mourned for Americans who were killed by ISIS.

He then went after President Donald Trump in a statement.

“This morning, Trump thanked Russia and Syria for their support with the al-Baghdadi operation, yet these two countries have been among the most destabilizing to the region, creating the conditions that gave rise to extremism and chaos."

Engel, one of the congressional leaders overseeing the House impeachment inquiry of Trump, called the President's Syria strategy "disastrous," and said it would not ensure the next leader of the terror group does not threaten the United States or its allies.

He then said the implication by the President that Democrats would leak information about the raid was "insulting."

"Finally, I am extremely troubled Trump notified only Republicans, but did not see fit to inform me or any Congressional Democrats of the operation. His implication that Speaker Pelosi, the elected representative third in line for the Presidency, cannot be trusted with sensitive information is tremendously problematic and insulting, and further politicizes foreign policy -- especially when Trump has shown himself to be an untrustworthy guardian of our national security and sensitive intelligence information.”
5:00 p.m. ET, October 27, 2019

Baghdadi may be buried at sea by US military

From CNN's Barbara Starr

A source familiar tells CNN that the body of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi may be disposed at sea.

White House national security adviser Robert O’Brien on NBC’s “Meet the Press” said he expected the US to follow the same protocol as Osama Bin Laden. The Al-Qaeda leader was killed in 2011 raid in Pakistan by US Navy SEALs and was buried at sea.

Appearing on "Meet the Press," O’Brien said Baghdadi’s “body will be disposed of properly.” 

Asked if the US would follow the same protocol as bin laden, O’Brien said, “I would expect that to be the case.”

4:17 p.m. ET, October 27, 2019

Inside the raid that killed ISIS leader Baghdadi

From CNN's Zachary Cohen

The covert operation started around 5 p.m. on Saturday evening as eight helicopters carrying teams of elite US troops, including Delta Force operators, flew exactly one hour and ten minutes over "very, very dangerous territory" towards the compound in northern Syria where Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was located, according to President Trump.

Numerous other US aircraft and ships were also involved in the mission.

Some of the US forces originated from various locations inside Iraq, according to a US official.

"We flew very, very low and very, very fast. It was a very dangerous part of the mission. Getting in and getting out, too. Equal. We wanted an identical -- we took an identical route," Trump told reporters today while providing a detailed account of the secret mission.

While in transit, the helicopters were met with local gunfire. US aircraft returned fire and eliminated the threat, Trump said.

After arriving at the compound, US troops breached a wall to avoid a booby trapped entrance and that's when "all hell broke loose," the President added.

While clearing the compound, US forces killed a "large number" of ISIS fighters during a gun battle without suffering casualties, according to Trump.

At least two ISIS fighters were captured and 11 children were taken into custody. Two of Baghdadi's wives were killed during the operation and their suicide vests remained unexploded.

Ultimately Baghdadi, who was also wearing a suicide vest, took refuge in a "dead end" tunnel with three children.

"He reached the end of the tunnel, as our dogs chased him down. He ignited his vest, killing himself and the three children. His body was mutilated by the blast. The tunnel had caved in on it in addition," Trump said.

4:02 p.m. ET, October 27, 2019

US official suggests additional raids in Syria could happen

From CNN's Barbara Starr

A US defense official has suggested to CNN that there could be additional operations targeting high value terror operatives in near Syria’s Idlib province following the raid that killed ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.  

“There are high value targets in Idlib we simply cannot afford to let live without eyes on,” the official said, indicating that some of these people would have to be dealt with before US “eyes” go away due to troop withdrawal from Syria.

3:30 p.m. ET, October 27, 2019

NATO Secretary General: Baghdadi's death is a "significant step" against "international terrorism"

From CNN’s James Frater


NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg called the US announcement on Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's death a “significant step” in the fight against “international terrorism.” 

“The US announcement on the operation against Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is a significant step in our efforts against international terrorism,” Stoltenberg said on Twitter today. “NATO remains committed to the fight against our common enemy ISIS.”
4:01 p.m. ET, October 27, 2019

Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire thanks special forces

From CNN's Michael Callahan

Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire thanked special forces for bringing "one of the world’s most-wanted terrorists to justice."

Maguire's statement comes after President Trump declared the death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in a press conference today. The President said a US special operations forces mission went after the ISIS leader in Syria on Saturday. There were no US deaths during the operation, Trump added.

"I want to thank our intelligence professionals and special operations forces for bringing one of the world’s most-wanted terrorists to justice," Maguire said. "I am incredibly proud to support the men and women of the Intelligence Community, whose efforts over the last two decades have led to the disruption of terrorism around the globe. Their steadfast dedication to ensure the safety and security of Americans at home and abroad is unwavering."
2:47 p.m. ET, October 27, 2019

Presidential candidates react to Baghdadi mission

Following President Trump declaring Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi dead, a handful of presidential candidates have shared their reactions to the death of the ISIS leader.

  • Former Vice President Joe Biden: "I congratulate our special forces, our intelligence community, and all our brave military professionals on delivering justice to the terrorist Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. It is thanks to their courage and relentless determination to carry out their mission that ISIS has suffered a vital loss.As the key figure behind the creation of ISIS, Baghdadi’s corrosive message inspired attacks that claimed thousands of innocent lives around the world—including in the United States. He proclaimed not the teachings of Islam, but a warped ideology of hate and brutality, built on mass slaughters, public executions, the enslavement of ethnic and religious minorities, and evils that have no place in any society. The world is better and safer without him in it."
  • Former Maryland representative John Delaney: "I am grateful for the brave patriots who risked their lives to advance our safety and security. Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi was a monster and the world is better without him. Today we should reflect on the work of our amazing armed forces and all those who contributed to this operation."
  • Author Marianne Williamson: "ISIS has caused immeasurable suffering & destruction; the death of Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi was an important, much needed action to defeat it. Praise and thanks for the military bravery and brilliance that carried out the mission."
  • Entrepreneur Andrew Yang: "The death of al-Baghdadi is a major blow to ISIS and a testament to our armed forces. It will make the world safer. Congratulations to the special ops team that executed the mission and everyone in the chain of command. This is a great accomplishment for America and the world."
  • South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg: "This is a real blow against ISIS and positive step in the fight against stateless terrorism and credit should go to all who are involved and I think it's an example of what our special operations and intelligence personnel are capable of around the world. Everybody involved deserves credit, but those who were at the tip of the spear deserve the most credit and, you know, we've been talking throughout this campaign about the importance of special operations and intelligence capabilities, separately and apart from large mobilizations of ground troops. This is one example of what can happen when we have our best trained people out on the ground and those in uniform have done a remarkable job."
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders: "Abu Bakr al Baghdadi was a murderer and terrorist responsible for terrible suffering and death. The fight against ISIS would not be possible without the brave efforts of the Kurds and other U.S. allies."
  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren: "Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi led a campaign of mass violence and terror that devastated the region and threatened the world. His death is a setback for ISIS and a victory for justice. I am grateful for the skill and courage of our special operations and intelligence professionals. Baghdadi's death closes one chapter, but it is not the end of our fight against terrorism. We need a settlement that ends the suffering and destruction in Syria—and ultimately, a long-term plan to counter extremism and allow the region to achieve peace and stability."
  • Sen. Amy Klobuchar: "Al-Baghdadi was a dangerous terrorist who committed heinous crimes. As I said this morning, getting rid of him was good for America and the world. But as I discussed today on @FaceTheNation many challenges remain..."
  • Sen. Kamala Harris: "There’s no question that the demise of Baghdadi is a very important milestone in terms of our fight against ISIS and all credit goes to our special forces, to our intelligence community. I work with them on a consistent basis in the course of my, my role in the Intelligence Committee, and they do extraordinary work. Most of the time without any recognition of their sacrifice and their hard work and professionalism, so it's it's a good day for those folks who have worked so hard over so many years and have been diligent in their pursuit of this war criminal. I mean, listen, the credit goes to the men and women who have been doing the work every day, and they deserve all the credit for being dedicated for being fearless and, and for consistently being who they are and I just have to tell you, to be frank there's no, there's just not been any consistency from Donald Trump about who our intelligence community is."
1:53 p.m. ET, October 27, 2019

Military operation that killed Baghdadi was named after ISIS victim Kayla Mueller

From CNN's Mike Callahan

White House national security adviser Robert O’Brien said the US military operation that killed ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was named after American Kayla Mueller who was held hostage by ISIS and killed in 2015.

Speaking on NBC’s “Meet the Press”, O’Brien said, “the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff named the operation that took down al-Baghdadi after Kayla Mueller, after what she had suffered,” adding “that was something that people should know.”

About the military operation: President Trump addressed the country this morning from the White House to declare the death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. The President said a US special operations forces mission went after the ISIS leader and there were no US deaths during the operation.

Several ISIS fighters and companions of Baghdadi were killed, including two women wearing suicide vests and three children. Trump would not provide a specific number of casualties, only describing those targeted on scene as "more dead than alive." Eleven children were moved out of the house and are uninjured, the President said.