Russia mocks America’s ‘umpteenth’ report of Baghdadi’s death claiming there's no evidence the ISIS leader was killed
RUSSIA has sneered at claims that ISIS monster Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was killed in a fiery raid – mocking Donald Trump's announcement as the "umpteenth" such report of his death.
The American president said Baghdadi "died like a dog" when he blew himself up in a tunnel as he fled US special forces at the weekend.
Mr Trump said the ISIS chief – who became the world’s most wanted man – died "crying, whimpering and screaming and bringing three kids with him".
Hailing Saturday night’s operation as an “unbelievable success” he called it a “great night for the US and for the world" as they had brought the "world's greater terrorist leader to justice".
But, Russia's defence bosses downplayed the victory, saying they were skeptical about his announcement.
Russian state-operated news agency, RIA, quoted Major-General Igor Konashenkov saying: "The Russian Ministry of Defence does not have reliable information on the operation by US servicemen… on yet another 'elimination' of former IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi."
Trump was also mocked by Konstantin Kosachyov, chairman of upper house of parliament's foreign affairs committee.
Last respects have been paid to al-Baghdadi at least five times in the past.
He told Interfax news agency: "Last respects have been paid to al-Baghdadi at least five times in the past.
"(Also) countering terrorism is a much more difficult task than the physical destruction of its leaders, even the most irreconcilable."
Officials in Russia also claimed there were no recorded airstrikes in the Idlib zone on Saturday when the operation was said to have taken place.
Trump said US military helicopters flew "very low" over territory controlled by Russian and Syrian forces before landing at Baghdadi's compound in the village of Barisha.
However Russia said the ministry was unaware of "any alleged assistance to the passage of American aircraft into the airspace of the Idlib de-escalation zone during this operation."
Military bosses said that the ISIS chief's presence in that area would be unlikely because the territory is controlled either by the Syrian government or by an al-Qaeda affiliate that is an IS rival.
IRAN ALSO MOCKS TRUMP
Trump's announcement was also scoffed at in Iran.
Iran's Information Minister, Mohammad Javad Azari-Jahromi, mocked Saturday's raid on Twitter, saying, "not a big deal, You just killed your creature" – accusing the US, its longtime foe, of creating ISIS.
And Iranian government spokesman Ali Rabiei tweeted: "The killing of Baghdadi will not end Daesh (Islamic State) and its ideology … which was created and flourished with the help of regional petrodollars."
Meanwhile, in Afghanistan an ISIS fighter told a Reuters reporter that he suspected news of Baghdadi's death was fake.
The militant, who identified himself as just Shaheen, said: "If the US really killed him, they should show the evidence, show the body.
"But let's say he was killed, it wouldn't matter.
"Our struggle is not for Baghdadi, our struggle against the infidels is for Allah."
Further details have emerged about the audacious operation, carried out after midnight in the village of Barisha.
Mr Trump said he kept US lawmakers out of the loop about the raid, because he was fearful of leaks.
Eight American military helicopters flew over territory controlled by Russian and Syrian forces, flying over heavily militarised territory controlled by multiple nations and forces before landing at Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's compound.
CNN reports that several other US aircraft and ships were also involved in the covert nighttime mission.
Both operations were carried out with the help of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
Stunned villagers had no idea that the ISIS monster was in their midst, hiding at a compound in northwestern Syria.
We went out in the balcony to see and they started shooting, with automatic rifles. So we went inside and hid.
US aircraft, mostly twin-rotor CH-47 helicopters, had taken off from Al-Asad air base in western Iraq – with villagers noticing the helicopters swooping low on the horizon.
Mr Trump explained: "We flew very, very low and very, very fast. It was a very dangerous part of the mission."
An unidentified resident told the Associated Press: "We went out in the balcony to see and they started shooting, with automatic rifles. So we went inside and hid."
American forces were met with gunfire at points during the raid.
Next came a large explosion that Mr Trump – watching the action unfold in the White House Situation Room – said was the result of soldiers blasting a hole in the side of a building because they feared the entrance might have been booby-trapped.
Hearing the soldiers enter his compound, a startled Baghdadi fled into a network of underground bunkers and tunnels that snaked through the compound.
The stout, bearded militant leader wore a suicide vest and dragged along three children as he ran from the American troops.
He ignited his vest, killing himself and the three youngsters.
President Trump said seeing the raid unfold felt "as though you were watching a movie."
In a televised address to the nation from the White House Mr Trump added: "He reached the end of the tunnel as our dogs chased him down.
"He ignited his vest, killing himself and his three children. His body was mutilated by the blasts. The tunnel had caved on him.
"The thug who tried so hard to intimidate others spent his last moments in utter fear, in total panic and dread, terrified of the American forces bearing down on him."
Mr Trump said no US personnel were killed and 11 children were rescued in the operation.
The terror chief's body was mutilated in the blast, and when the tunnel caved in on him. To get to his corpse, troops had to dig through debris.
Special forces had come prepared to carry out forensic tests, bringing along samples of Baghdadi's DNA.
Lab technicians conducted an onsite DNA test to make sure and within 15 minutes of his death, positively identified the target.
"It was him," Mr Trump asserted.
Trump thanked Russia, Turkey, Syria and Iraq, as well as Kurdish fighters in Syria for their support.
The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces confirmed they had been working with the US in the operation.
Baghdadi's body might be disposed of at sea, reports CNN.
It is the most high profile targeted US military strike since the dramatic killing of Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan in 2011.
Baghdadi came to prominence in 2014, when he announced the creation of a "caliphate" in areas of Iraq and Syria.
The murderous group carried out a number of atrocities that resulted in thousands of deaths, and enslaved and raped thousands of women from Iraq's Yazidi minority.
The families of British terror victims have congratulated US special forces, saying "good riddance" in the wake of Baghdadi's death, as his fanatics were behind the bombing of a Manchester gig by Ariana Grande, and inspired the 2017 London Bridge attack.
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