Video Of Raid That Killed Islamic State Leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi Made Public By Defense Department

The Pentagon on Wednesday released aerial drone footage of United States special operation troops storming a compound that reportedly housed the Islamic State leader.

Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi is seen in an undated photo.
Defense Department / Getty Images

The Pentagon on Wednesday released aerial drone footage of United States special operation troops storming a compound that reportedly housed the Islamic State leader.

The Pentagon on Wednesday released dramatic footage of the United States special operations raid that resulted in the death of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, NBC News reported. The video footage, viewable below on this page, appears to have been taken from an aerial drone flying over the terrorist chieftain’s compound in Idlib Province, Syria.

The video shows a squad of U.S. commandos storming the compound and engaging in a firefight with two armed groups who, according to NBC News, were not believed to be part of the Islamic State organization.

Inside the compound, the U.S. special operations troops encountered a group of five Islamic State members who “presented a threat to the force,” according to Marine Corps General Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr., who screened the video at a briefing for reporters Wednesday afternoon.

The video does not, however, depict the death of al-Baghdadi himself, who was described by Donald Trump on Sunday as having “died like a dog,” and “whimpering and crying and screaming” as the U.S. troops closed in on him. But Trump’s description puzzled administration officials, who said that because the video contained no audio track, the president could not possibly have known what sort of sounds al-Baghdadi made — if any.

The U.S. commandos discovered the Islamic State leader hiding in a tunnel, according to McKenzie, as quoted by the Al-Jazeera news service.

“Baghdadi detonated a bomb he wore killing himself and two young children that were with him,” McKenzie told reporters, according to the Al-Jazeera account.

The Marine Corps general added that the total of two children was a change from the three that U.S. military officials previously believed died along with al-Baghdadi.

Both children killed in the blast set off by al-Baghdadi appeared to be under the age of 12, Mckenzie told reporters. He noted, however, that the U.S. forces cleared 11 more children off the compound property. Where those children were taken remains unclear.

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The video also depicts a U.S. airstrike that leveled the compound at the conclusion of the successful raid. The U.S. destroyed the compound so that it would not be left as a “shrine” to the Islamic State leader, who was venerated by members of the terrorist organization, according to the Al Jazeera report.

The revelation of the video showing the raid taking place would appear to contradict claims by the Russian government that the U.S. may have been fabricating the entire story of the raid, as a form of propaganda.

Al-Baghdadi was in United States custody in Iraq in 2004. According to Al Jazeera, the U.S. took a sample of his DNA at that time. That DNA sample was used to positively identify the Islamic State founder after his death, McKenzie said.