Defense secretary: Raid that resulted in death of ISIS leader was 'brilliantly executed operation'

Defense secretary: Raid that resulted in death of ISIS leader was 'brilliantly executed operation'
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Defense Secretary Mark EsperMark EsperTrump administration pulls out of Open Skies treaty with Russia The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC - Trump, Biden clash over transition holdup, pandemic plans President is wild card as shutdown fears grow MORE said Sunday that the raid that resulted in the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi "was a brilliantly executed operation."

"This is a great day for America. It's a great day for the world," Esper, who was in the Situation Room with President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden to nominate Linda Thomas-Greenfield for UN ambassador: reports Scranton dedicates 'Joe Biden Way' to honor president-elect Kasich: Republicans 'either in complete lockstep' or 'afraid' of Trump MORE monitoring the Saturday night raid, said. "The president made a bold decision to launch this raid, and our military service members and our interagency partners executed brilliantly."

Trump announced al-Baghdadi's death Sunday. 

He said no U.S. forces were killed in the mission. 

Esper said on ABC's "This Week" that fewer than 100 U.S. troops were on the ground during the raid but added that it was a "much bigger" operation with assistance from others in the intelligence community. 

"I think all the praise goes to our service members and to our intelligence professionals and others who took this on," Esper said. "And the message is if you’re a leader in ISIS, if you’re a leader for a terrorist group, we are going to come after you and we will hunt you relentlessly."


Esper added that "our troops are the best in the world." 

"It was a brilliantly executed operation, and the president deserves credit for giving it the green light," he said. "These are always inherently risky and, as I like to say, our folks make the complex and the dangerous look simple and safe."