President Donald Trump continued to receive praise from the top of his inner-circle with regard to giving the go-ahead for U.S. Special Operations troops to pursue the leader of the Islamic State group, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, which resulted in his death on Saturday.
According to The Hill, newly-minted U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper joined others in applauding Trump’s decision to move forward with the operation after the White House received actionable intelligence which indicated that al-Baghdadi was in a location where U.S. troops could locate and kill him.
“The president made a bold decision to launch this raid, and our military service members and our interagency partners executed brilliantly,” Esper said.
The secretary also noted that al-Baghdadi’s death marked a huge win for the United States and the rest of the world.
“This is a great day for America. It’s a great day for the world,” he added.
Esper also provided some insight as to how the operation was completed, noting that there were less than 100 U.S. military troops on the ground in Syria and that assistance was provided by the U.S. intelligence community. Even better was his report that no U.S. troops were killed during the mission.
“I think all the praise goes to our service members and to our intelligence professionals and others who took this on,” Esper said in an interview with ABC’s This Week.
He also delivered a strong warning to the remaining terrorists, including those who are part of the Islamic State and any other terrorist group around the world, essentially telling them to watch their backs, because the United States is coming for them.
“And the message is if you’re a leader in [the Islamic State], if you’re a leader for a terrorist group, we are going to come after you and we will hunt you relentlessly,” Esper said.
As previously reported by The Inquisitr, Vice President Mike Pence also praised the president on the Sunday talk show circuit, crediting both the troops involved and Trump’s “decisiveness” for giving the order to execute the mission.
Secretary of Defense Mark Esper: "The aim was to capture Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and if we couldn't capture him then of course we were going to kill him." pic.twitter.com/9EbqmJari5
— The Hill (@thehill) October 27, 2019
On Sunday, Pence revealed on CBS’ Face The Nation that the White House received actionable intelligence Saturday morning that there was a “high probability” that al-Baghdadi was located in a compound in Syria’s Idlib province, indicating that the Trump administration moved quickly on the intel.
Pence, who joined Esper and Trump in the White House’s Situation Room during the daring raid, remarked that it was “incredible” to see the situation unfold as it did. He also revealed that while the raid was a success, the United States wouldn’t become complacent in the region and would continue to be on high alert for terrorist activity.