Trump announces death of al-Baghdadi successor

President Trump said Tuesday that U.S. forces had killed the “number one replacement” for Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, days after the ISIS leader was killed in a U.S. military raid in Syria.

“Just confirmed that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s number one replacement has been terminated by American troops,” Trump tweeted Tuesday morning.

{mosads}A U.S. official later confirmed to The Hill that Trump was referring to ISIS spokesman Abu Hassan al-Muhajir.

Reports surfaced late Monday that al-Muhajir, who was considered a likely successor to al-Baghdadi, had been killed in a U.S. airstrike. 

Trump announced al-Baghdadi’s death in an address from the White House on Sunday, describing in detail a U.S. military raid in northwest Syria. Trump said U.S. forces had trapped Baghdadi at the end of a tunnel, after which he detonated a suicide vest, killing himself and three of his children.

Al-Baghdadi’s death represented a major symbolic victory in the fight against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, though officials have emphasized the need to continue to focus on delivering ISIS a lasting defeat, including by denying it financial resources in the region.

Trump told reporters Sunday that he had been briefed on al-Baghdadi’s potential successors.

“We know the successors. And we’ve already got them in our sights,” Trump said.

The successful operation against al-Baghdadi came as Trump faced continued scrutiny for his decision to withdraw U.S. troops from northern Syria. Many have warned that doing so could result in a resurgence of ISIS in the region.

Trump has stood by his plans to pull back U.S. forces but has left some behind in order to guard oil fields, partly to prevent ISIS from gaining control of them. 

–This report was updated at 1:17 p.m.

Tags Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi Donald Trump ISIS Islamic State Syria Turkey
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