The United States has given the remains of leader of ISIL Takfiri group Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi a burial at sea, US officials said.
Reuters quoted US officials as saying that the body of Baghdadi, who was allegedly died in a commando raid by US Special Forces on Saturday in Syria’s Idlib Sunday, was buried at the sea and “afforded him religious rites according to Islamic custom.”
The US officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, did not disclose where the ritual was performed or how long it lasted. Two officials said they believed his remains were delivered to the sea from an aircraft, the agency added.
US Army General Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a Pentagon news briefing on Monday that the US military disposed of Baghdadi’s remains “appropriately, in accordance with our (standard operating procedures) and in accordance with the law of armed conflict.”
Milley said that before the disposal of his remains, they had been transported to a secure facility to confirm his identity with forensic DNA testing.
“It’s been done and is complete,” Milley said.
US defense officials indicated they had followed the same protocol as with the body of Osama bin Laden, who was also buried at sea after he was killed in a raid in Abbottabad, Pakistan in 2011.
Doubts Cast over Raid
Meanwhile, some military and intelligence officials cast doubt on the vivid description of the raid given by President Donald Trump, who said he had watched it from the White House Situation Room.
Trump’s description of the raid included that Baghdadi was “whimpering and crying” before he detonated a suicide vest in a dead-end tunnel.
The officials suggested there would not have been any audio on the footage being watched in the Situation Room, nor any images from inside the tunnel. Furthermore, Mark Esper, the defense secretary, who was seen seated next to Trump in an official photograph taken in the Situation Room during the raid, said he had not heard “whimpering”.
For its part, Russia said it does not have “reliable” data about Trump claim on the raid.
Defense Ministry spokesman Maj.-Gen. Igor Konashenkov argued that Russia did not have any intel on air strikes made by American forces on the “Idlib de-escalation zone.”