Days after U.S. special operations forces killed Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State terror group, President Donald Trump announced that another of the group’s top leaders has been “terminated” by U.S. troops.
The latest high-ranking terror leader to be eliminated, Trump said, might very well have succeeded al-Baghdadi as head of the organization.
“Just confirmed that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s number one replacement has been terminated by American troops,” Trump tweeted on Tuesday morning.
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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 29, 2019
“Most likely would have taken the top spot – Now he is also Dead!” the president added.
It was not immediately clear who Trump was referring to.
However, a senior State Department official confirmed to The Wall Street Journal on Monday that the Islamic State group’s spokesman had been killed in a strike by U.S. forces in northeast Syria.
The official said that the spokesman, Abu al-Hassan al-Muhajir “would have been one of the potential successors” to al-Baghdadi, but added that “it could be anywhere from a few days to a few weeks” before the terror group announces who its new leader will be.
“We will see usually, eulogies come out, and then someone will emerge as the successor,” the U.S. official told The Wall Street Journal. “They’ll have religious credentials, they will have leadership credentials.”
“It will be someone from the kind of inner circle, in all likelihood.”
The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces also confirmed that al-Muhajir had been eliminated.
The deaths of both leaders have “effectively disabled top ISIS leadership,” SDF spokesman Mustafa Bali told The Wall Street Journal.
According to Fawaz Gerges, a professor of Middle Eastern politics at the London School of Economics, al-Muhajir had married al-Baghdadi’s daughter.
In announcing al-Baghdadi’s death, Trump said Sunday that the terror leader was a “coward.”
“He was a sick and depraved man, and now he’s gone,” Trump said, according to a White House transcript of his remarks.
“Baghdadi was vicious and violent, and he died in a vicious and violent way, as a coward, running and crying.”
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