President Trump announced on Twitter Tuesday that the probable successor to Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has been “terminated by American troops.”
“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!” Trump tweeted 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
The president didn’t identify the terrorist who was killed, or the manner in which he died, prompting reporters to dig for more information.
The Military Times reported:
The Pentagon referred questions about the tweet to the White House, which did not immediately provide additional information when contacted by Military Times. The State Department also did not provide comment on the record to Military Times.
It’s unclear who Trump was specifically referring to, however, the Wall Street Journal reported Monday that ISIS’s spokesman Abu Hassan al-Muhajir was killed in a strike in northeast Syria. An anonymous U.S. official told the Journal that al Muhajir “would have been one of the potential successors” to al-Baghdadi.
In addition to al-Muhajir, reports are also speculating that the terrorist in question could be Abdullah Qardash, who is known as “the Destroyer.”
Qardash had been running day-to-day operations of the Islamic State and reportedly took over Saturday after Baghdadi blew himself up.
Prior to joining ISIS, Qardash had been an army officer in Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein’s regime. Qardash and al-Baghdadi were jailed by the US authorities for about a year in Camp Bucca, a detention facility in Basra, following the U.S. invasion of Iraq. While they were jailed, Qardash and al-Baghdadi reportedly became close companions.
Middle East experts have named two other individuals as possible candidates to succeed al-Baghdadi. Abu Saleh al-Juzrawi, a Saudi national who runs the terror group’s so-called Delegated Committee, and Abu Othman al-Tunsi, a Tunisian national who heads the Islamic State’s Shura Council, were both close to Baghdadi, according to AFP.
“Baghdadi and the losers who worked for him, and losers they are, they had no idea what they were getting into. In some cases, they were very frightened puppies,” Trump said in his announcement on Sunday. “He died like a dog. He died like a coward. The world is now a much safer place. God bless America.”
The president also said that potential replacements for al-Baghdadi had been identified and were “in our sights.”
“We know the successors,” Trump said.
Under al-Baghdadi’s command, ISIS became one of the most brutal terrorist groups in modern history, raping and enslaving civilians in huge swaths of Syria and Iraq, terrorizing innocents with beheadings, crucifixions, mass shootings, and creative but ghastly methods of torture.
At its peak, the so-called Islamic State caliphate covered territory across Iraq and Syria roughly equivalent to the size of the United Kingdom.
By March of 2019, the nightmarish caliphate had been almost completely decimated thanks to the Trump administration’s winning military strategy.