“Just confirmed that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s number one replacement has been terminated by American troops,” Trump tweeted Tuesday morning.
Just confirmed that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s number one replacement has been terminated by American troops. Most likely would have taken the top spot – Now he is also Dead!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 29, 2019
Trump did not provide the individual’s name, but reports surfaced late Monday that ISIS spokesman Abu Hassan al-Muhajir, who was considered a likely successor to al-Baghdadi, had been killed in a U.S. airstrike.
The Hill has reached out to the White House, Pentagon and State Department for more information.
Trump announced al-Baghdadi’s death in an address from the White House on Sunday, describing in detail a U.S. military raid in northwest Syria. Trump said U.S. forces had trapped Baghdadi at the end of a tunnel, after which he detonated a suicide vest, killing himself and three of his children.
Al-Baghdadi’s death represented a major symbolic victory in the fight against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, though officials have emphasized the need to continue to focus on delivering ISIS a lasting defeat, including by denying it financial resources in the region.
Trump told reporters Sunday that he had been briefed on potential al-Baghdadi’s potential successors.
“We know the successors. And we’ve already got them in our sights,” Trump said.
The successful operation against al-Baghdadi came as Trump faced continued scrutiny for his decision to withdraw U.S. troops from northern Syria. Many have warned that doing so could result in a resurgence on ISIS in the region.
Trump has stood by his plans to pull back U.S. forces but has left some behind in order to guard oil fields to, partly to prevent ISIS from gaining control of them.