US army buries ISIS leader Baghdadi’s remains at sea, say sources

Baghdadi, US army, ISIS, pentagon, Donald Trump, war against terrorism
A screengrab of the video where Al-Baghdadi discussed Sri Lanka, suggesting the April 21 attacks came after he was filmed

The remains of ISIS leader Abu Bakr-al Baghdadi were given a burial at sea and religious rites were accorded to him according to Islamic customs, three days after he blew himself during a US raid in Syria on Saturday, Reuters reported. The officials who spoke to the news agency, however, didn’t divulge the location where the rituals were performed.

US army general Mark Milley, also the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during a press briefing at the Pentagon on Monday (October 28, US time) told the media that the remains of Baghdadi were “disposed of appropriately” in accordance with the US standard operating procedure and the law of armed conflict, without revealing the location of the burial.

US president Donald Trump announced on Sunday (October 27) that Baghdadi blew himself in his suicide vest as he was chased to the dead end of a tunnel by the US service dogs during an American raid in northwest Syria.

Addressing reporters in the Pentagon, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley said, “Baghdadi’s remains were transported to a secure facility to confirm his identity with forensic DNA testing and the disposal of his remains has been done. It is complete and was handled appropriately.”

“His remains were disposed of appropriately in accordance with our SOP (standard operating procedure) and the law of armed conflict,” the top general said.

Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was buried at sea after being killed in a US raid in Pakistan’s Abbottabad in 2011.

Responding to questions, General Milley said the US forces also took with them materials about ISIS and future planning from the compound where Baghdadi was killed.

“There was material taken away. I don’t want to characterize exactly what or how much yet until it gets exploited properly. But as a matter of course, we always do sensitive side exploitation on any objective anywhere to do that. As to whether it was Baghdadi’s headquarters, it was an area in which he was staying on a consistent basis,” the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said.

He also said that US forces captured two associates of Baghdadi.

“There were two adult males taken off the objective alive and they are in our custody,” Milley said.

Asked about president Trump saying that Baghdadi was whimpering and crying before he died, General Milley said the presidential account was based on the conversation that he had with those involved in the attack.

“The (defense) secretary was asked the same question yesterday. I note the president had planned to talk down to the unit and unit members, but I don’t know what the source of that was, but I assume it was talking directly to the unit and the unit member,” he said.

(With inputs from agencies)