Tuesday , October 27 2020

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi: US 'conducts operation against IS chief' – US media – BBC News, BBC News


        

                                 Baghdadi addressing crowd in Mosul, 2014Image copyright                 (AFP) AFP                                                       
Image caption                                    There are unconfirmed reports of a US raid against Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi                             

The US military has conducted an operation against the fugitive leader of the Islamic State (IS

Claims of a raid against Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi have not been confirmed.

The White House said US President Donald Trump would make a “major statement” on Sunday, but gave no further details.

Mr Trump earlier shared a cryptic tweet saying: “Something very big has just happened!”

Officials quoted anonymously by various media outlets said US forces targeted the militant leader in a raid in northwest Syria.

A US official told Reuters news agency an operation took place but was unable to confirm speculation that Baghdadi was killed.

The IS leader has been wrongly reported to be dead on previous occasions.

The White House has neither confirmed that an operation took place, nor its alleged outcome.

The raid was carried out by special operations forcesafter they received “actionable intelligence”, Newsweek said, citing unnamed sources.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based monitoring group, said helicopter gunfire had killed nine people near a village in the Syrian province of Idlib, where “groups linked to the Islamic State group” were present.

Mr Trump is set to make his statement at 13: (GMT) 09: (local time) on Sunday.

Who is Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi?

The IS leader has been described as the world’s most wanted man.

In October 2011, the US officially designated him a “terrorist” and offered a reward of $ 10 m (£ 5.8m; 7.3m euros) for information leading to his capture or death.

Baghdadi has a reputation as a highly organized and ruthless battlefield tactician.

He was born near Samarra, north of Baghdad, in 1971, and his real name is Ibrahim Awad al-Badri.

Reports suggest he was a cleric in a mosque in the city around the time of the US-led invasion in 2003.

            

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Media captionA video appearing to show the IS group leader was released earlier this year

Some believe he was already a militant jihadist during the rule of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. Others suggest he was radicalised during the four years he was held at Camp Bucca, a US facility in southern Iraq where many al-Qaeda commanders were detained.

He emerged in 2010 as the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq, one of the groups that merged with IS, and rose to prominence during the attempted merger with the al-Nusra Front in Syria.

IS ​​released a video of a man it said was Baghdadi earlier this year. Before this, he had not been seen since 2014, when he proclaimed from Mosul the creation of a “caliphate” across parts of Syria and Iraq.

            

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