Trump says IS leader Baghdadi’s top replacement also killed
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Trump says IS leader Baghdadi’s top replacement also killed

US president may have been referring to the Sunday killing by Kurdish and US forces of jihadist leader’s spokesman and right-hand man, Abu Hassan al-Muhajir

Screen capture from video allegedly showing Islamic State spokesman spokesman Abu Hassan al-Muhajir. (YouTube)
Screen capture from video allegedly showing Islamic State spokesman spokesman Abu Hassan al-Muhajir. (YouTube)

WASHINGTON — US President Donald Trump said on Tuesday the person likely to be first in line to replace Islamic State’s slain leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has also been “terminated.”

“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!” Trump tweeted.

Trump did not identify the person or give more detail on how he was killed.

A top Kurdish official said earlier that Baghdadi’s spokesman and right-hand man, Abu Hassan al-Muhajir, was killed Sunday in a separate raid in the village of Ain Al-Baydah.

It was unclear if that was the person Trump was referring to in his tweet.

A US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighter chants slogans before heading to the front line to fight Islamic State militants in their last stronghold of Baghouz, Syria, March 14, 2019. (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo)

Mazloum Abdi, commander of the Kurdish-led SDF, had said on Twitter that al-Muhajir was targeted in what he described as a “coordinated operation between SDF intelligence and the US army.”

That raid was carried out a day after US commandos stormed Baghdadi’s hideout in northwestern Syria.

The Islamic State founder detonated a suicide vest, killing himself and three children, as he was being chased into a dead end tunnel, according to the US account.

A Kurdish official on Monday said the SDF provided crucial intelligence from a source who infiltrated Baghdadi’s house, bringing out underwear that provided positive DNA identification.

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