Reuters Ahmed Rasheed and Ahmed Aboulenein
October 27, 2019
9:49 AM EDT Filed under
- PMN Politics
BAGHDAD — Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the Iraqi jihadist who rose from obscurity to declare himself “caliph” of all Muslims as the leader of Islamic State, has died in a raid by U.S. special forces in northwest Syria.
U.S. President Donald Trump said in a televised address from the White House that Baghdadi killed himself during the raid by igniting a suicide vest. Test results from the aftermath of the raid had positively identified Baghdadi, he said.
Baghdadi had long been a target for U.S. and regional security forces trying to eliminate Islamic State, even as they reclaimed most of the territory the group once held.
The Islamic State or caliphate that Baghdadi declared in July 2014 over a quarter of Iraq and Syria was notable for atrocities against religious minorities and attacks on five continents in the name of a version of an ultra-fanatic Islam that horrified mainstream Muslims.
The genocide of Yazidis, adherents of one of the Middle East’s oldest religions, illustrated the brutality of his rule. Thousands of men were slaughtered on their ancestral Sinjar mountain in northwestern Iraq and women were killed or taken as sex slaves. Some other religious groups suffered sexual slavery, slaughter and floggings.
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