Defense Secretary Mark EsperMark EsperThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden to update Americans on omicron; Congress back Former defense secretary Esper sues Pentagon in memoir dispute Overnight Defense & National Security — Presented by Boeing — Major Russia weapons test stokes tensions 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 TrumpDeputy AG: DOJ investigating fake Trump electors Former Boston Red Sox star David Ortiz elected to Baseball Hall of Fame Overnight Health Care — Senators unveil pandemic prep overhaul 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."
NEW: Defense Sec. Mark Esper says fewer than 100 forces were on the ground during raid, "but these are always much bigger operations, the tail of which stretches back pretty deep." https://t.co/GRPIcauFpK pic.twitter.com/Se19nPZHxl— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) October 27, 2019
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."