WASHINGTON — The Saturday raid that killed the head of ISIS also yielded unspecified intelligence materials and the capture of two ISIS figures, Pentagon officials said Monday.
It also elevated a K-9 solider to hero status.
Perhaps are critical as the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi — by his own hand — was the high grade material collated that gave insight about the ISIS structures and some Islamic State group and some future operational plans, Pentagon officials said.
“Baghdadi’s death will not rid the world of terrorism or end the ongoing conflict in Syria, but it will certainly send a message to those who question America’s resolve and provide a warning to terrorists who think they can hide,” Defense Secretary Mark Esper told Pentagon reporters.
““Baghdadi and the thugs who followed him were responsible for some of the most brutal atrocities of our time,” Esper said. “His death marks a devastating blow for the remnants of ISIS who are now deprived of their inspirational leader following the destruction of their physical caliphate earlier this year.”
Esper said going after Baghdadi fits the profile of what the U.S role in the region — and is not. “Acting as a police force to solve every dispute is not our mission,” Esper said.
Baghdadi, along with three of his children fled down a tunnel in an effort to elude the U.S. special forces team. When cornered he detonated a suicide vest, killing himself and the children.
Remains of Baghdadi were disposed of “appropriately” and DNA collected, Gen. Mark Milley chair of the Joint Chiefs, said at the same briefing. He was identified at the scene, as the U.S had brought along samples of Baghdadi’s DNA obtained by Kurdish allies, Pentagon officials said.
Russia has expressed skepticism Baghdadi was killed. Milley was mum on what was done with remains, such as burial at sea as was done with Osama bin Laden.
Lab technicians conducted an onsite DNA test to make sure and within 15 minutes of his death, positively identified the target.
President Trump said Monday that the government may release release part of the video taken on Saturday of the raid in Syria in which Baghdadi was killed. In his remarks on Sunday, Trump said Baghdadi had died “whimpering and crying.” I
Milley said he could not confirm those details, as the live feed viewed by the president, Espr and Milley and others did not have audio. Milley added that the president had talked direct with some of the troops involve in the operation and they may have proved those details. “I don’t know what the source of that was,” he told reporters.
As for the dog, Milley said it “performed a tremendous service” but “We’re not releasing the name of the dog right now. The dog is still in theater…. We’re not going to release just yet photos or names of dogs or anything else. We’re protecting the dog’s identity.”
The dog has recovered from its wounds and is back with its unti, Milley said.
After the U.S. forces left the Baghdadi compound , U.S. fighter jets fired six rockets at the house, leveling it, Milley said.
Also in Syria, Esper said the U.S. will secure Syrian oil fields to provide a sources revenue for Kurdish SDF allies to pay for their troops and to guard ISIS prisoners. No access to the our fields will be Russian or Syrians, Esper said.
– By Tom Squitieri, at the Pentagon