Radical Islamic terror leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the founder and leader of the barbaric Islamic State, was taken down thanks to a Kurdish spy, a secret blood test… and a dirty pair of underwear.
According to NBC News, a pair of soiled underwear was part of the evidence provided to U.S. forces to prove al-Baghdadi’s location.
The underwear was smuggled out of the ISIS compound by a Kurdish informant, who also provided key details on the Islamic terror leader’s hideout.
President Donald Trump watched the raid in real-time via a video link as U.S. soldiers blasted into the hideout and sent the most-wanted militant running for his life like a coward. He died by committing suicide while cowering behind children.
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The daring raid was the culmination of years of steady intelligence-gathering work — and 48 hours of hurry-up planning once Washington got word that al-Baghdadi would be at a compound in northwestern Syria. In the end, al-Baghdadi faced American justice thanks to the steel nerve of pro-U.S. spies, the courage of American troops… and some sweaty underwear.
The night unfolded with methodical precision and unexpected turns. This reconstruction is based on the first-blush accounts of Trump and other administration officials eager to share the details of how the U.S. snared its top target, as well observations from startled villagers who had no idea al-Baghdadi was in their midst.
Events developed quickly once the White House learned on Thursday there was “a high probability” that al-Baghdadi would be at an Idlib province compound.
By Friday, Trump had military options on his desk.
By Saturday morning, the administration, at last, had “actionable intelligence” it could exploit.
There was no hint of that interior drama as Trump headed to Camp David on Friday night to celebrate the 10th wedding anniversary of daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner. Then he was off to Virginia on a brisk fall Saturday for a round at one of his golf courses.
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He teed off with Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred, in town for the World Series, and Sens. Lindsey Graham and David Perdue.
Trump got back to the White House at 4:18 p.m. By 5 p.m., he was in a suit in the Situation Room in the basement of the West Wing to monitor the raid. One official said they monitored the operation with real-time imagery.
They named it after Kayla Mueller, an American humanitarian worker that was kidnapped, raped, and killed by al-Baghdadi.
Moments after the White House team had gathered, U.S. aircraft, mostly twin-rotor CH-47 helicopters, took off from Al-Asad air base in western Iraq.
Within hours, al-Baghdadi was dead.
The first inkling that something was afoot came when villagers saw helicopters swooping low on the horizon.
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“We went out in the balcony to see and they started shooting, with automatic rifles. So we went inside and hid,” said an unidentified villager. Next came a large explosion — Trump said soldiers blasted a hole in the side of a building because they feared the entrance might have been booby-trapped. Al-Baghdadi fled into a network of underground bunkers and tunnels that snaked through the compound.
The Islamic terror leader wore a suicide vest and dragged along three children as he fled “crying and whimpering and screaming” from the American troops.
Trump, happy to play up the drama, said that as U.S. troops and their dogs closed in, the Islamic terrorist died like a coward.
“He reached the end of the tunnel, as our dogs chased him down,” Trump said. “He ignited his vest, killing himself and the three children.”
Al-Baghdadi’s body was mutilated in the blast, and the tunnel caved in on him. To get to his corpse, troops had to dig through debris.
“There wasn’t much left,” Trump said, “but there are still substantial pieces that they brought back.”
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That’s when the military raid turned into a forensics operation — and the special forces had come prepared.
They had brought along samples of al-Baghdadi’s DNA.
The soldiers who conducted the raid thought the man who fled looked like al-Baghdadi, but that wasn’t enough. Various accounts had heralded his death in the past, only for him to surface yet again.
This time there could be no doubt.
Lab technicians conducted an onsite DNA test to make sure and within 15 minutes of his death, positively identified the target.
“It was him,” Trump said.
Al-Baghdadi’s body wasn’t all they retrieved.
Trump said U.S. troops remained in the compound for about two hours after al-Baghdadi’s death and recovered highly sensitive material about the Islamic State group, including information about its future plans.
After the American troops left, U.S. fighter jets fired six rockets at the house, leveling it.
All thanks to a pair of dirty undies.
The Associated Press contributed to this article