President Trump on Monday said he could release segments from a video recorded during a dramatic US raid which resulted in the suicide of ISIS founder and leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in Syria.
The 'austere religious scholar' detonated an explosive vest after being cornered by US soldiers in a tunnel - killing himself and three children, and wounding a US military canine.
"We may take certain parts of it and release it," Trump told reporters on departure from Washington to Chicago, according to AFP.
He died "like a dog," Trump said in his comments, which differed sharply in tone from similar announcements by presidents in the past.
A report in The New York Times, quoting military and intelligence officials, cast doubt on some of Trump's descriptions, including his repeated claim that Baghdadi was "whimpering and crying" in the tunnel. -AFP
In recent comments, Trump said the raid looked like "a movie," however according to the NYT he wouldn't have had access to real-time audio or video.
A senior Turkish official said Baghdadi had arrived at the site of the U.S. raid some 48 hours before it took place, adding that Turkey’s military - which has been waging its own offensive against Kurdish fighters in northern Syria - "had advance knowledge of the U.S. operation in Idlib." Meanwhile, Newsweek, which first reported news of the raid, said it had been told by a U.S. Army official briefed on the raid that Baghdadi was dead.
Baghdadi led the Islamic State since 2010, when it was still an underground offshoot of al Qaeda in Iraq. Baghdadi had long been believed to be hiding somewhere along the Iraq-Syria border - evading justice despite a $25 million reward offered by the United States for his capture.