Following the killing of the head of the ISIS terrorist group, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, fresh details have surfaced about the U.S. operation that led to his death over the weekend. U.S officials said al-Baghdadi was buried at sea and his close aid Abu Hassan al-Muhajir was also killed in another operation.
Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark Milley said no one was injured in the operation, despite the U.S. team coning under fire when they arrived.
They took two men prisoners, and al-Baghdadi’s body was taken to a secure facility for a DNA test that confirmed his identity, Milley said.
“The disposal of his remains has been done, is complete and was handled appropriately,” he said, saying it was carried out “in accordance with the law of armed conflict.”
Another Pentagon official confirmed that al-Baghdadi’s body was buried at sea at an unnamed location, similar to the 2011 sea burial of al-Qaida head Osama bin Laden after his death in a U.S. special forces raid in Pakistan.
“His death marks a devastating blow to the remnants of ISIS,” Defense Secretary Mark Esper said.
He praised the nearly hundred-strong force that helicoptered to the rural compound in the Idlib region of Syria in a complex mission that required coordination with many parties including Turkey to prevent U.S. aircraft from being fired upon.
“They executed the raid in all of its facets brilliantly,” Esper said.
U.S. Foreign Secretary officials also announced that an ISIS spokesperson and a close aid of al-Baghdadi, Abu Hassan al-Muhajir was killed in a separate U.S. operation in Jarablus on Sunday, hours after al-Baghdadi blew himself up during a U.S. raid.
Al-Muhajir was believed to be in Jarablus to facilitate al-Baghdadi’s travel to the area.
Meanwhile, attention focused on the unnamed dog, likely a Belgian Malinois, a breed favored by the military, which chased al-Baghdadi into a tunnel under the complex and cornered him before he detonated his suicide vest.
Trump praised the dog on Sunday as “beautiful,” but military officials said any information about it, including its name, was secret.
“It’s classified, we’re protecting the dog’s identity,” said Milley.
The dog had been “slightly wounded and is fully recovering,” he said.