Two men believed close to the Islamic State’s top leadership were taken alive during the Saturday night US special forces raid which killed ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
“There were two adult males taken off the objective, alive,” Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley announced Monday during a Pentagon briefing. “They’re in our custody and they’re in a secure facility,” Milley added, without revealing the identity of the captives.
“While clearing the objective, US forces discovered al-Baghdadi hiding in a tunnel. The assault forces closed in on al-Baghdadi and ended when he detonated a suicide vest,” said Milley.
This also as The New York Times reports Monday that intelligence recovered from the raid “could reveal a trove of ISIS clues”. No doubt this includes the human intelligence potentially gathered through interrogations of the newly captured ISIS operatives, which could reveal details of Baghdadi’s last days and months.
The Times report said “confiscated documents and electronic records” were found at the site where Baghdadi was hiding, which should “shed critical light on how the Islamic State operated.”
Gen. Milley also confirmed during the briefing that segments of the video imagery from the Baghdadi raid would be made public once it is subject to a declassification review, following prior comments made by President Trumps saying he’s mulling release of the video.
Milley mentioned that likely the video would be made public in the coming days after the declassification process.
In their joint press briefing Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Gen. Milley also addressed the issue of Baghdadi’s remains: “The disposal of his [al-Baghdadi’s] remains has been done and is complete and was handled appropriately,” Milley told reporters.
After the terror chief was described to have denoted a suicide vest as US forces were in pursuit while fleeing with his three children (also reported killed in the blast) in an underground tunnel, his DNA was reportedly quickly transported to a secure facility for testing. The Pentagon then said his identity was confirmed to be Baghdadi.