(Jerusalem, Israel) — The world is waking up to dramatic news: Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the terrorist leader of the Islamic State — responsible for waging genocide against Christians and Yazidis in Iraq and Syria — has been killed by US forces.
The raid was ordered last week by President Trump.
This is very welcome news. Though the White House has stumbled badly in recent weeks in Syria, the administration deserves real credit for leading a coalition of Arab, Kurdish and US forces in recent years that successfully crushed the bulk of ISIS jihadists, dismantled their caliphate, and stopped the genocide.
The risk now is that a complete US withdrawal from Syria could create a vacuum that would allow ISIS to reconstitute itself.
That said, taking out the top ISIS leader adds to the White House’s impressive victory.
Several years ago, I wrote a trilogy of political thrillers — The Third Target, The First Hostage and Without Warning — about the genocidal and apocalyptic ambitions of ISIS, and America’s hunt for its leader. I don’t believe that killing Baghdadi ends the ISIS threat, but it had to be done, and for the sake of justice I am grateful it finally has been accomplished.
Here is what we know at this hour:
- “The United States military has conducted a special operations raid targeting one of its most high-value targets, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State militant group (ISIS),” Newsweek reports. “President Donald Trump approved the mission nearly a week before it took place.”
- ”Amid reports Saturday of U.S. military helicopters over the Syria’s northwestern Idlib province, a senior Pentagon official familiar with the operation and Army official briefed on the matter told Newsweek that Baghdadi was the target of the top-secret operation in the last bastion of the country’s Islamist-dominated opposition, a faction that has clashed with ISIS in recent years,” the magazine noted.
- “A U.S. Army official briefed on the results of the operation told Newsweek that Baghdadi was killed in the raid, and the Defense Department told the White House they have ‘high confidence’ that the high-value target killed was Baghdadi, but further verification is pending DNA and biometric testing. The senior Pentagon official said there was a brief firefight when U.S. forces entered the compound in Idlib’s Barisha village and that Baghdadi then killed himself by detonating a suicide vest. Family members were present. According to Pentagon sources, no children were harmed in the raid but two Baghdadi wives were killed after detonating their own explosive vests.”
Please continue praying for the full healing and recovery of all the ISIS victims, and comfort for all the families who lost loved ones to the ISIS jihadists.
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