The United States through the Pentagon on Wednesday made public its first images from last weekend’s commando raid in Syria that led to the death of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and warned the militant group may attempt to stage a “retribution attack.”
The declassified, grainy, black-and-white aerial videos from Saturday’s raid showed US special operations forces closing in on the compound and US aircraft firing on militants nearby.
The most dramatic video showed a massive, black plume of smoke rising from the ground after US military bombs leveled Baghdadi’s compound.
“It looks pretty much like a parking lot, with large potholes,” said Marine General Kenneth McKenzie, the commander of US Central Command, which oversees American forces in the Middle East.
"Here we see the object of the assault-the compound where
Baghdadi was hiding. As I noted earlier, this isolated compound was in Idlib
province in Northwest Syria" - Gen Frank McKenzie
McKenzie, briefing Pentagon reporters, said the idea of destroying the compound was at least in part “to ensure that it would not be a shrine or otherwise memorable in any way.
“It’s just another piece of ground,” he said.