A Washington spokesman has warned that the fight against the extremist jihadist group is far from over despite the US military’s successful raid on Sunday which led to the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. The US State Department said in a statement following the raid: “The United States is determined to prevent a resurgence of ISIS in Syria and Iraq and continues to work with the Global Coalition to destroy ISIS remnants and thwart its global ambitions.” The US Government official said that President Trump, by announcing the withdrawal of US forces from northern Syria on October 6, did not suggest that Washington was abandoning the fight against ISIS.
They added: “There was never an idea that we would abandon the mission of going after ISIS. … This is a major effort that is continuing.”
The President announced on Sunday that al-Baghdadi had “died like a dog” and “like a coward” as the former ISIS leader detonated a bomb-vest while US troops closed in.
Six of al-Baghdadi’s men were also killed during the operation and 11 children were safely removed from the scene as the fighting raged for two hours.
It was confirmed by a Washington official today that the body of al-Baghdadi was disposed at sea in a secret location, a similar burial to that of Osama bin Laden, the former leader and founder of al-Qaeda.
Security officials in the US apparently decided it was risky to have a known grave in case it became a shrine to the world’s best-known terrorist.
Foreign Ministers will arrive in Washington on November 14 to discuss the mission in-depth.
Despite the notoriety of the scalp by US troops, Washington along with other governments around the world, are remaining cautious in celebrating the success too much, as fears of an ISIS resurgence loom.
French President Emmanuel Macron said al-Baghdadi’s death was a major blow against ISIS, but “the fight continues to finally defeat this terrorist organisation”.
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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “We will work with our coalition partners to bring an end to the murderous, barbaric activities of Daesh (ISIS) once and for all.”
In Southeast Asia, an important focus for ISIS, officials said security forces were preparing for a long battle to thwart the group’s ideology.
The Philippines, one of many Asian nations plagued with extremist Islamist groups, said they were braced for retaliation by ISIS loyalists, including “lone-wolf” attacks by radicalised locals.
Military spokesman in the Philippines Brigadier General Edgard Arevalo said: “Our troops in the front lines remain on high alert to thwart possible attempts to ride on this development.”
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Fears will not be helped by the reports emerging that ISIS may have named a new leader in little known but supposedly extremely violent Abdullah Qardash.
Newsweek claim that new leader Qardash, former officer in Saddam Hussein’s military who forged an alliance with al-Baghdadi in prison before becoming his enforcer and policy-maker, has emerged as al-Baghdadi’s successor.
He is nicknamed The Professor or The Destroyer within ISIS circles because of his reputation as a brutal legislator.
He is known as a cruel but popular figure within ISIS ranks.
In the face of defeat in Syria, ISIS’ announcement of a new leader may suggest incoming acts of defiance by the violent cult, but the West and other parts of the world stand ready to defend themselves.