by Matthew Mazzella ’20
On Sunday, October 27, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the terrorist organization ISIS, was found dead in northwest Syria after a raid by United States special forces. President Trump made the announcement of his death on Sunday morning and highlighted this as a win for national security. The President expressed enthusiasm about the result by saying, “Last night, the United States brought the world’s No. 1 terrorist leader to justice. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is dead.”
al-Baghdadi was said to have killed himself by detonating a suicide vest after the invasion of United States troops in a dead-end tunnel. He had been the leader of the terrorist organization since 2010, and the death of the ISIS leader is a huge step in the everlasting fight to end global terrorism. al-Baghdadi had been a top target for the United States for a long time, and there was even a United States offering of a $25 million reward for his capture. The Islamic States spokesperson and al-Baghdadi’s right-hand man was also killed hours later with the help of Kurdish and United States troops in northern Syria.
This operation has been in the works for weeks now, after the U.S. was informed of al-Baghdadi’s whereabouts. The United States ultimately got the go-ahead Saturday morning after receiving “actionable intelligence,” according to Vice President Mike Pence. Donald Trump explained how the raid was executed, and said special operations forces flew into the compound in eight helicopters from an undisclosed location to reach the destination in northwestern Syria. After they reached his location, United States forces were met with heavy gunfire at the doors of the compound but were able to force al-Baghdadi down a tunnel with no escape route, where he eventually took his own life. No United States military personnel were injured, although one K-9-unit dog was hurt in the process.
President Trump watched the operation in the White House with his team, and the mission to take out the ISIS leader took about two hours. He was joined by Vice President Pence, National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, along with other military officials. This mission was a success according to the President, as he stated, “Last night was a great night for United States and for the world.”
Evan Howells ’20 shared his thoughts on the news that broke Sunday morning, expressing his optimism in the fight against terrorism. Howells stated, “I was relieved to hear about the al-Baghdadi news because of the implications it has on the war against terrorism. The United States taking out their leader will hopefully weaken the terrorists that wreak so much havoc in the world we live in. Quite honestly, it makes me feel a little bit safer that we are one step closer to putting an end to something so horrible.”
While this is a step in the right direction for the war on terrorism, unfortunately the fight is not over. Through allies in the Middle East and the courage of United States troops, the battle on global terrorism will fight on in hopes of a safer world in the near future. al-Baghdadi’s death marks a severe blow to ISIS, and it will help in the battle to end the horrible actions of terrorism around the world.