In a press interview, the Department of Defense (DoD) released footage of the Delta Force operation that killed the leader of ISIS Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
General Frank McKenzie, the commander of U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) also provided additional information about the operation.
According to CENTCOM, the general plan for the operation was a helicopter assault by Delta and the Rangers. They launched from two sites, Erbil, Iraq, and an undisclosed location in Syria. Gen. McKenzie added that “the plan was significantly more complex than that, and designed to avoid detection by ISIS and others prior to and during execution, to avoid civilian casualties. This operation was exquisitely planned and executed. It demonstrates the United States’ global reach and our unwavering commitment to destroy ISIS.”
“This operation was exquisitely planned and executed. It demonstrates the United States’ global reach and our unwavering commitment to destroy ISIS…” – Gen Frank McKenzie CDR USCENTCOM
The individuals who planned and conducted this mission are quiet professionals, focused on their mission above glory or recognition. Committed people did hard, risky work, and they did it well.”
McKenzie said planning for the raid began much earlier. He said Baghdadi was a priority target for Centcom, and as a result, was the subject of an intense effort to bring him to justice.
“As it became clear that we had gained clear and actionable intelligence on his hideout, we developed a plan designed to capture or kill him and started preparing a special operations team for the mission,” he said.
The special operations team was staged in Syria and launched against an isolated compound in Idlib province about 4 miles from the Turkish border. “We assess that he was hiding in Idlib province to avoid the intense pressure that had been put on ISIS in other areas of Syria,” the general said.
The team was inserted by helicopter and protected by attack choppers, unmanned strike aircraft and fourth- and fifth-generation fighters, McKenzie said. “I would also note that the plan accounted for the assumption that we would find multiple children at the objective,” he added.
Aircraft destroyed the compound so it can’t be used as a shrine to the murderer, the general told reporters. “It looks like a parking lot with big potholes,” McKenzie said.
Cover photo credit (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Kahlil Dash)
Chris “Badger” Thomas is a Veteran who served our country as an Army Combat Medic.
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Dean James at Right Wing Tribune