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Westlake Legal Group > News Media (Page 153)

Photo of Trump watching al-Baghdadi raid compared to Obama watching bin Laden operation

CLOSEWestlake Legal Group icon_close Photo of Trump watching al-Baghdadi raid compared to Obama watching bin Laden operation

President Trump says a ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has died in a U.S.-led raid in Syria. USA TODAY

The White House released photos of a stoic Donald Trump watching the U.S. raid that killed Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi unfold, after the president’s Sunday announcement about the operation. 

Trump said Sunday that he watched as U.S. forces cornered al-Baghdadi in a dead-end tunnel, where the ISIS terrorist detonated a vest he was wearing, killing himself and several others. No U.S. forces were lost, Trump said.

The photo shows National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien, Vice President Mike Pence, Trump, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley and Deputy Director for Special Operations on the Joint Staff Marcus Evans. They all face the direction of the camera, appearing to watch the raid. 

“The U.S. personnel were incredible,” Trump said. “I got to watch a bunch of it.”

Trump said that his view from the Situation Room was “as though you were watching a movie.”

Trump described al-Baghdadi running in the tunnel, “whimpering and crying and screaming all the way.” The president said that al-Baghdadi “died like a dog.”

Trump also suggested that the footage of al-Baghdadi’s death should be released so that his followers can see how he died. 

Twitter users compared the White House photos to those taken during the operation that killed Osama bin Laden in 2011, ordered by former President Barack Obama.

One iconic photo taken during that attack was taken by then-White House photographer Pete Souza. It shows Obama, former Vice President Joe Biden and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton with other members of the national security team.

During his announcement, Trump suggested that al-Baghdadi’s death was more significant than that of bin Laden.

“[Son of Osama bin Laden] Hamza bin Laden was a big thing, but this is the biggest there is. This is the worst ever. Osama bin Laden was very big but Osama bin Laden became big with the World Trade Center,” Trump said. “This is a man who built a whole, as he would like to call it, a country, a caliphate. And was trying to do it again.”

In 2012 Trump repeatedly tweeted that Obama should not be given credit for the operation against bin Laden.

Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2019/10/27/situation-room-photos-out-trump-watching-abu-bakr-al-baghdadi-raid/2478527001/

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Florida begger charged with threatening to beat up woman who wouldn’t give her $1

A Florida panhandler has been charged with threatening to beat up a woman who wouldn’t give her $1 when she asked, according to the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office.

Melanie Leff, 46, had been panhandling in Bradenton around 6:00 p.m. on Thursday when a bystander allegedly complained to police that Leff had threatened to beat up a woman who refused to give her $1.

Deputies who responded to the scene saw and heard Leff yelling obscenities at someone inside a car stopped at the red light where she had set up shop, according to the Bradenton Herald.

FLORIDA THIRD GRADER CALLED A ‘HERO’ FOR PREVENTING POSSIBLE SCHOOL SHOOTING

Westlake Legal Group Melanie-Leff Florida begger charged with threatening to beat up woman who wouldn't give her $1 fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/us/crime/police-and-law-enforcement fox-news/us fox news fnc/us fnc David Aaro article 4a645ce8-9c2d-5193-8702-3a81df02ae0f

Melanie Leff, 46, had been panhandling around 6:00 p.m. on Thursday when a bystander complained to police that Leff had threatened to beat up a woman after she refused to give her $1. (Manatee County Sheriff’s Office)

While she was being taken away to the Manatee County jail, deputies told the outlet that Leff “was extremely aggressive and verbally abusive.”

Police arrested her on charges of panhandling and engaging in conduct that implies threat of injury.

Leff was previously arrested twice for the misuse of the 911 system, according to the Miami Herald.

In Dec. 2018, officers spoke with Leff after receiving complaints of her panhandling in the area.

OFF-DUTY TEXAS COP SHOOTS SON AFTER MISTAKING HIM FOR INTRUDER, POLICE SAY

The outlet said when they arrived, Leff allegedly yelled and told the officer she was going to call 911 and he subsequently arrested her for the charge of misuse of the 911 system.

Just 10 minutes later, Leff somehow managed to call the police again from the back of the patrol car, landing her another charge of the same crime, according to the Miami Herald.

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The outlet reported that Leff was arrested twice between Nov. 2017 and Jan. 2018 on charges of trespassing, possession of drug paraphernalia and disorderly conduct, as well as another panhandling charge.

A new ordinance was recently passed in Manatee County making it illegal for panhandlers or pedestrians to remain in the median of “highly traveled” roads after an outcry over instances of violence by homeless people in the area, according to the Bradenton Herald.

Westlake Legal Group Melanie-Leff Florida begger charged with threatening to beat up woman who wouldn't give her $1 fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/us/crime/police-and-law-enforcement fox-news/us fox news fnc/us fnc David Aaro article 4a645ce8-9c2d-5193-8702-3a81df02ae0f   Westlake Legal Group Melanie-Leff Florida begger charged with threatening to beat up woman who wouldn't give her $1 fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/us/crime/police-and-law-enforcement fox-news/us fox news fnc/us fnc David Aaro article 4a645ce8-9c2d-5193-8702-3a81df02ae0f

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LSU up to No. 2 behind Alabama in Amway Coaches poll as Oklahoma, Notre Dame tumble

CLOSEWestlake Legal Group icon_close LSU up to No. 2 behind Alabama in Amway Coaches poll as Oklahoma, Notre Dame tumble

The Week 9 slate featured a major upset as well as a top-10 showdown that lived up to its billing. As a result, the Amway Coaches Poll looks considerably different with significant movement in the top five.

Alabama retained the top ranking, easily getting by Arkansas despite the absence of quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. The Crimson  Tide received 40 of 65 first-place votes heading into their open date. Up next on Nov. 9 is a showdown with the new No. 2 team. LSU.

The Tigers, who held off Auburn in a hard-hitting affair Saturday, picked up seven No. 1 nods and overtook Clemson for the second position by seven poll points. Coincidentally, the last time the top two teams in the Amway Coaches Poll met during the regular season was in 2011, also Alabama and LSU. The Tigers are also off this weekend.

Clemson retained 10 No. 1 votes but slid to third overall despite winning in a romp against Boston College. No. 4 Ohio State isn’t far behind. The Buckeyes claimed the remaining eight firsts after blowing past Wisconsin.

Penn State, which stayed unbeaten after rolling past Michigan State, inherits the No. 5 spot following Oklahoma’s loss at Kansas State. The Sooners slid four places to No. 9.

TOP 25: Complete Amway Coaches Poll rankings

WINNERS AND LOSERS: Highs and lows from Week 9 in college football

FOOTBALL FOUR: Alabama, LSU ready for showdown as Oklahoma falls

Florida and Georgia moved up to the sixth and seventh slots, respectively, on the eve of their annual get-together in Jacksonville. The Pac-12 is back in the top 10 with Oregon climbing to No. 8 and Utah to No. 10.

Notre Dame took a nine-position drop to No. 16 on the heels of a drubbing at No. 15 Michigan, while Auburn fell just two spots to No. 12 following the loss at LSU. No. 11 Baylor, No. 13 Minnesota and No. 14 SMU continue to inch up the rankings while remaining undefeated.

No. 25 Kansas State in the lone newcomer to the top 25 this week thanks to its win against Oklahoma. Arizona State is the dropout following a loss to UCLA.

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Obama White House photographer suggests Trump Situation Room photo of unfolding al-Baghdadi raid was staged

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Airbnb renters reportedly terrorized by swarm of wasps while they slept: ‘The kids were shrieking and shaking’

A mom is claiming that she and her family experienced “the stuff of nightmares” at an Airbnb rental in London.

The mother-of-four claims that she was awakened in the middle of the night by a swarm of wasps terrorizing her family. She reportedly found herself covered by dozens of the tiny, angry insects.

Westlake Legal Group wasp-swarm Airbnb renters reportedly terrorized by swarm of wasps while they slept: 'The kids were shrieking and shaking' Michael Hollan fox-news/travel/general/hotels fox news fnc/travel fnc article 790ce80d-e48b-54d3-90c4-41da6a64a598

“I peeled the covers back and screamed,” Suzy Cross told the Mirror. “I turned the light on and they were everywhere, coming from a nest in the corner of the room. All hell broke loose. The kids were shrieking and shaking.” (iStock)

Suzy Cross booked the London flat through Airbnb for about $500-a-night, the Mirror reports. She was staying there with her husband and four children when the incident occurred.

Cross claims that she woke up in the middle of the night and felt something unusual. “I could feel something crawling in the sheets,” she told the Mirror. “It was super creepy so I kicked and felt a sharp sting.”

AIRBNB HOST’S SHEET OF BATHROOM RULES SPARKS CONFUSION: ‘HOW SINISTER IS THAT?’

Apparently, a swarm of wasps had emerged from a nest the family was unaware of in the room. “I peeled the covers back and screamed,” she continued. “I turned the light on and they were everywhere, coming from a nest in the corner of the room. All hell broke loose. The kids were shrieking and shaking.”

The Mirror reports that the listing described the rental as a “buzzing” spot in East London.

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The family claims they spent the remainder of the night hiding in one of the flat’s other rooms, while Cross’s husband attempted to keep the wasps blocked in the main bedroom.

The family reportedly moved to a hotel the following day.

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In a statement obtained by the Mirror, a spokesperson for Airbnb said, “We were disappointed to hear about this experience and fully refunded the guest at the time. More than 2 million people check-in to Airbnb listings each night and while negative experiences are incredibly rare, we work hard to make things right when they do occur.”

Westlake Legal Group wasp-swarm Airbnb renters reportedly terrorized by swarm of wasps while they slept: 'The kids were shrieking and shaking' Michael Hollan fox-news/travel/general/hotels fox news fnc/travel fnc article 790ce80d-e48b-54d3-90c4-41da6a64a598   Westlake Legal Group wasp-swarm Airbnb renters reportedly terrorized by swarm of wasps while they slept: 'The kids were shrieking and shaking' Michael Hollan fox-news/travel/general/hotels fox news fnc/travel fnc article 790ce80d-e48b-54d3-90c4-41da6a64a598

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Trump says he kept details of ISIS operation from Pelosi to avoid leaks

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6098253403001_6098250748001-vs Trump says he kept details of ISIS operation from Pelosi to avoid leaks Ronn Blitzer fox-news/world/terrorism/isis fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/politics fnc article 8c4f27c5-67c5-5578-9909-e9b7c8e1b31d

President Trump said Sunday morning that he did not tell House Speaker Nancy Pelosi about the U.S. military raid in Syria that resulted in the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi because he was worried about leaks that could have compromised the mission.

Vice President Mike Pence said this was not an indication of a lack of trust.

When asked if he notified Pelosi beforehand, Trump said he did not because he did not want any members of the U.S. forces to die.

TRUMP DESCRIBES AL-BAGHDADI AS ‘WHIMPERING AND CRYING’ BEFORE DYING IN U.S. OPERATION: ‘HE DIED LIKE A COWARD’

“No, I didn’t. I didn’t do that. I wanted to make sure this kept secret,” Trump said. “I don’t want to have people lost.”

Pelosi issued a statement after al-Baghdadi’s death was announced, criticizing Trump for not informing leaders in Congress beforehand.

“The House must be briefed on this raid, which the Russians but not top Congressional Leadership were notified of in advance, and on the Administration’s overall strategy in the region,” Pelosi said. “Our military and allies deserve strong, smart and strategic leadership from Washington.”

Trump said that he did notify Russia beforehand that the U.S. would be active in the region, because Russia currently has a presence there. The president said he did not reveal the purpose of the mission.

Pence downplayed Trump’s decision to keep Pelosi in the dark in an appearance on “Fox News Sunday” immediately following Trump’s address. The vice president claimed that Trump did not mean to say he did not trust the House Speaker.

ISIS LEADER’S DEATH MARKS LATEST DEFEAT OF ONCE-POWERFUL GROUP

“I don’t think that was the implication at all,” Pence said. When pressed on the issue, the vice president said, “We maintain the tightest possible security here,” and focused on Trump’s goal, which was to bring al-Baghdadi to justice.

Before fielding the question about Pelosi, Trump had said that the only ones who knew about the operation beforehand “were the few people I dealt with.” He mentioned Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley as some of those with whom he worked.

Congressional sources from the Republican side told Fox News they were notified about the raid Saturday night, but it was unclear if this was before or after it took place.

Trump said he spoke about the operation with certain individuals like Sens. Richard Burr, R-N.C., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., Sunday morning, but that he did not tell any of them beforehand.

“We’ve notified some, others are being notified now as I speak,” Trump said. “We were going to notify them last night but we decided not to do that because Washington leaks like I’ve never seen before.”

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The president went on to call Washington, D.C. “a leaking machine, and said he decided “we will not notify them until our great people are out,” because “I don’t want to have them greeted with firepower like you wouldn’t believe.”

Trump touted the success of the operation, and how no members of the U.S. forces were killed, with just one military dog injured.

Fox News’ Chad Pergram contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6098253403001_6098250748001-vs Trump says he kept details of ISIS operation from Pelosi to avoid leaks Ronn Blitzer fox-news/world/terrorism/isis fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/politics fnc article 8c4f27c5-67c5-5578-9909-e9b7c8e1b31d   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6098253403001_6098250748001-vs Trump says he kept details of ISIS operation from Pelosi to avoid leaks Ronn Blitzer fox-news/world/terrorism/isis fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/politics fnc article 8c4f27c5-67c5-5578-9909-e9b7c8e1b31d

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What ISIS Leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s Death Means

BEIRUT (AP) — The death of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi marks the demise of one of the most brutally effective jihadist leaders of modern times — a man who commanded tens of thousands of fighters from around the world, carved out a territorial caliphate in the Middle East and refined a horrific ideology that survives him.

U.S. President Donald Trump announced Sunday that al-Baghdadi was killed in a U.S. raid in Syria after he was chased into a tunnel with three of his children and set off an explosives vest. IS lost its last foothold of territory earlier this year to U.S.-backed Kurdish-led forces, but al-Baghdadi had continued to exhort remnants of the group to carry out attacks.

His death is a major blow, but the extremist group has survived the loss of previous leaders and military setbacks going back to the aftermath of the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.

A look at al-Baghdadi’s death and what it means going forward.

Westlake Legal Group 5db5c0d4210000eb2c34b2b9 What ISIS Leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s Death Means

ASSOCIATED PRESS This image made from video posted on a militant website July 5, 2014, purports to show the leader of the Islamic State group, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, delivering a sermon at a mosque in Iraq during his first public appearance. (Militant video via AP, File)

WHO WAS AL-BAGHDADI?

Born Ibrahim Awwad Ibrahim Ali al-Badri al-Samarrai in 1971 in Samarra, Iraq, he adopted the nom de guerre al-Baghdadi early on and joined the Sunni insurgency against U.S. forces after the 2003 invasion. He was detained by U.S. troops in February 2004 and spent 10 months in the Camp Bucca prison in southern Iraq.

He eventually assumed control of the Islamic State of Iraq, an al-Qaida linked group founded by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian militant killed in a U.S. airstrike in Iraq in 2006. Under al-Baghdadi, the group expanded into neighboring Syria, exploiting the chaos unleashed by that country’s 2011 uprising and civil war.

In the summer of 2014, his fighters swept across eastern Syria and northern and western Iraq, eventually carving out a self-styled “caliphate” in a third of both countries. In early July, al-Baghdadi made his first public appearance, delivering a sermon in a centuries-old mosque in the Iraqi city of Mosul and declaring himself caliph, or leader of the world’s Muslims.

Under his leadership the group carried out a wave of atrocities, including the enslavement and rape of thousands of women from Iraq’s Yazidi minority. They massacred captives, beheaded journalists and aid workers, and threw individuals believed to be gay from the rooftops of buildings. They gleefully broadcast the killings with slickly produced videos and photos on social media.

WAS HE A THREAT TO OTHER COUNTRIES?

Al-Baghdadi repeatedly called on his followers to attack a list of enemies that came to include much of the world, including the United States and other Western countries, Shiite Muslims whom he deemed apostates, and even devout Sunni Muslims who rejected his group’s ideology.

Unlike Osama bin Laden and other jihadists who strove to carry out 9/11-style attacks that would capture world attention, al-Baghdadi exhorted followers to do whatever they could with the weapons they had at hand. His group claimed scores of attacks worldwide, including so-called lone wolf attacks with no direct connection to the group.

But IS also directly orchestrated attacks, including the 2015 shootings and suicide bombings in Paris that killed 130 people. It also claimed this year’s Easter suicide bombings in Sri Lanka that killed 269 people.

The extremist group attracted tens of thousands of foreigners to whom it provided advanced military training, and spawned powerful affiliates in Egypt, Libya, Afghanistan and elsewhere that continue to carry out attacks.

WHAT EFFECT WILL HIS DEATH HAVE?

As the world’s most-wanted terrorist with a $25 million U.S. bounty on his head, al-Baghdadi’s ability to run the day-to-day affairs of IS was probably very limited. He would have had to move among various safe houses with a small group of loyalists and avoid using electronic communications that could be tracked by intelligence agencies.

But he was an imposing figurehead, and his ability to elude the world’s most powerful intelligence services for so many years added to his mystique among his followers. He proved to be a highly effective leader and will be hard to replace.

Al-Baghdadi never publicly designated a successor, and many of his top deputies have been killed. His death could spark infighting among prospective successors, potentially further weakening the group.

IS THIS THE END OF THE ISLAMIC STATE?

The Islamic State group in its various forms has survived the death of several leaders and senior commanders. It has been able to replenish its ranks by attracting Sunni Muslims in the Middle East who feel oppressed by their governments, as well as foreigners attracted by the group’s austere vision of Islam, its ultra-violent tactics, or both.

It still boasts powerful affiliates in other countries, and remnants of the original group continue to carry out sporadic attacks in both Syria and Iraq.

Perhaps even more worrying are the tens of thousands of IS fighters and supporters detained across the Middle East, including those held by Kurdish fighters in eastern Syria. The U.S. decision this month to pull out of Syria and abandon its former allies to a Turkish invasion allowed hundreds of IS supporters to escape and raised concerns about the security of other facilities.

It’s possible that a future IS leader is wearing a prison jumpsuit, quietly recruiting supporters within concrete walls lined with barbed wire and plotting his next move — just as al-Baghdadi once did.

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Kylie Jenner Recreates Britney And Madonna’s Iconic VMAs Kiss For Halloween

Westlake Legal Group 5db5aa98210000eb2c34b2a9 Kylie Jenner Recreates Britney And Madonna’s Iconic VMAs Kiss For Halloween

Rise and shine from your post-Halloweekend slumber, everyone, because Kylie Jenner recreated a pop culture moment for the ages. 

The reality TV star was only about six years old when Britney Spears and Madonna broke the internet — before it was really even the internet — with their famous kiss at the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards. But icons recognize icons, so Jenner and best friend Stassie Karanikolaou pulled out all the stops to reenact the moment on Saturday night in impressive detail. 

The makeup mogul went as the Material Girl — slicking her hair back in a bun, wearing a form-fitting black ensemble and carrying a top hat — while Karanikolaou channeled the pop princess in a white bridal number. 

In an Instagram video, the two dance around to Madonna’s “Like A Virgin” before Karanikolaou-as-Spears tells Jenner: “Kiss me.” 

And so she does, but it’s only a brief peck — not likely to cause nearly as much conversation as Madonna and Spears’ lip lock, which went down as one of the most defining moments in award show history. 

While no one appeared to have dressed as Christina Aguilera — who, let us not forget, was also at the VMAs that year and also kissed Madonna on stage — Jenner laid that groundwork in a past Halloween. 

The 22-year-old rocked the look from Aguilera’s “Dirrrty” era for a night back in 2016, complete with assless chaps.

Jenner seems to be making the most out of the holiday’s outfit opportunities this year, sporting head-to-toe black leather for some pre-Halloween festivities earlier in the weekend. 

She attended a J Balvin concert alongside friend Sofia Richie. The two seemed to have a night to remember, swigging tequila from the bottle backstage and running into musician will.i.am.

And since we’re dealing with the Kardashian-Jenners — there’s no family that takes this holiday more seriously — expect to see the costumes to continue throughout the week, because you know Kim isn’t about to be upstaged by her little sister. 

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Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, ISIS Leader Known for His Brutality, Is Dead at 48

SAMARRA, Iraq — Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the cunning and enigmatic black-clad leader of the Islamic State, who transformed a flagging insurgency into a global terrorist network that drew tens of thousands of recruits from 100 countries, has died at 48.

His death was announced on Sunday by President Trump, who said al-Baghdadi detonated a suicide vest during a raid in northwestern Syria by United States Special Forces this weekend. Mr. Trump said preliminary tests had confirmed his identity.

There was no immediate confirmation from the Islamic States’s media arm, which typically is quick to claim attacks but generally takes longer to confirm the deaths of its leaders.

The son of a pious Sunni family from the Iraqi district of Samarra, al-Baghdadi parlayed religious fervor, hatred of nonbelievers and the power of the internet into the path that catapulted him onto the global stage. He commanded an organization that at its peak controlled territory the size of Britain, from which it directed and inspired acts of terror in over three dozen countries.

Al-Baghdadi was the world’s most-wanted terrorist chieftain, the target of a $25 million bounty from the American government. His death followed a yearslong, international manhunt that consumed the intelligence services of multiple countries and spanned two American presidential administrations.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_163389822_85b047bf-a206-4df4-be5b-8c45b3711706-articleLarge Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, ISIS Leader Known for His Brutality, Is Dead at 48 Terrorism Syria Muslims and Islam Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) Iraq War (2003-11) Iraq Deaths (Obituaries) Baghdadi, Abu Bakr al-

The burnt-out home where al-Baghdadi was born in the village of Al Jallam, in central Iraq.Credit…Ivor Prickett for The New York Times

Al-Baghdadi evaded capture for nearly a decade by hewing to a series of extreme security measures, even when meeting with his most-trusted associates.

“They even made me remove my wristwatch,” recounted Ismail al-Ithawy, a top Baghdadi aide who was captured last year. He spoke from a jail in Iraq, where he has been sentenced to death.

After being stripped of electronic devices, including cellphones and cameras, Mr. al-Ithawy and others recalled, they were blindfolded, loaded onto buses and driven for hours to an unknown location. When they were finally allowed to remove their blindfolds, they would find al-Baghdadi sitting before them.

Meetings lasted between 15 and 30 minutes, and the ISIS chief would leave the building first. His visitors were required to stay under armed guard for hours after his exit. Then they were once again blindfolded and driven back to their original point of departure, according to aides who saw him in three of the past five years.

“Baghdadi’s concern was always: Who will betray him? He didn’t trust anyone,” said Gen. Yahya Rasool, a spokesman of the Iraqi Joint Operation Command.

Much of the world first learned of al-Baghdadi in 2014, when his men overran one-third of Iraq and half of neighboring Syria and declared the territory a caliphate, claiming to revive the Muslim theocracy that ended with the fall of the Ottoman Empire.

The move distinguished the Islamic State from Al Qaeda, the older Islamic terrorist group under whose yoke al-Baghdadi’s men had operated for nearly a decade in Iraq, before violently breaking away from it.

Although Osama bin Laden, the Qaeda leader, had dreamed of restoring the caliphate, he was reluctant to declare one, perhaps fearing the overwhelming military response that eventually cost al-Baghdadi his territory.

Yet it took five years before troops seized the last acre of land under al-Baghdadi’s rule, in March. And in the interim, the promise of a physical caliphate electrified tens of thousands of followers, who flocked to Syria to serve his imagined state.

At its peak, the group’s black flag flew over major population centers, including the Iraqi city of Mosul, with a population of 1.4 million. Its territory spread east into the plains of Nineveh, the biblical city where the extremists turned centuries-old churches into bomb factories. It reached north into the mountains of Sinjar, whose women were singled out for sexual enslavement. It extended south to the Syrian oil fields of Deir Azzour and the majestic colonnades of Palmyra.

Acting under the orders of a “Delegated Committee” headed by al-Baghdadi, the group known variously as ISIS, ISIL and Daesh imposed its violent interpretation of Islam in these territories.

Women accused of adultery were stoned to death, thieves had their hands hacked off, and men who had defied the militants were beheaded.

While some of those medieval punishments are also meted out in places like Saudi Arabia, the Islamic State shocked people around the world by televising its executions. It also offended Muslims by inventing horrific punishments that are not mentioned in Islamic scripture. A Jordanian pilot was burned alive in a scene filmed by overhead drones. Men accused of being spies were drowned in cages, as underwater cameras captured their last tortured gasp. Others were crushed under the treads of a T-55 tank, or strung up by their feet inside a slaughterhouse and butchered like animals.

But in addition to brutality, the group also meted out services, running a state that was recognized by no one other than themselves, but which in certain categories outperformed the one it had usurped.

The Islamic State collected taxes and saw to it that the garbage was picked up. Couples who got married could expect to receive a marriage license printed on Islamic State stationery. Once children of those unions were born, their birth weight was duly recorded on an ISIS-issued birth certificate. The group even ran its own D.M.V.

For a group intent on re-establishing a theocracy from the Middle Ages, the Islamic State was very much a creature of its time. The militants harnessed the internet to connect with thousands of followers around the globe, making them feel as if they were virtual citizens of the caliphate.

The message of these new jihadists was clear, and many of those on whose ears it fell found it emboldening: Anyone, anywhere, could act in the group’s name. That allowed ISIS to multiply its lethality by remotely inspiring attacks, carried out by men who never set foot in a training camp.

In this fashion, ISIS was responsible for the deaths of thousands of people around the world. A shooting at an office party in San Bernardino, Calif. An attack on a Christmas market in Germany. A truck attack in Nice, France, on Bastille Day. Suicide bombings at churches on Easter Sunday in Sri Lanka.

In many instances, the attackers left behind recordings, social media posts or videos pledging allegiance to al-Baghdadi.

“Baghdadi was central to giving voice to ISIS’ project in a manner that achieved startling resonance with vulnerable individuals globally,” said Joshua Geltzer, who was senior director for counterterrorism at the National Security Council until 2017.

“He will remain a singular figure in the group’s emergence and evolution,” Mr. Geltzer said.

Born Ibrahim Awad Ibrahim Ali al-Badri, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi began life in a dry and desolate plain in the village of Al Jallam, in central Iraq. He was one of five sons and several daughters of a conservative Sunni man who eked out a living selling sheep.

Neighbors described the family as average, and the area as unremarkable.

But one detail stands out in al-Baghdadi’s early story, and it would later become a key element in his claim to be a caliph: Al Jallam is populated by members of the al-Badri tribe, which traces its lineage to the Quraysh people of the Arabian Peninsula — the tribe of the Prophet Muhammad. A hereditary connection to the Quraysh is regarded as a prerequisite for becoming a caliph, and pamphlets published by ISIS exhorting Muslims to pledge allegiance to al-Baghdadi trace his ancestry from the Badri community in Al Jallam to Fatima, the youngest daughter of the prophet.

By the time al-Baghdadi began elementary school, the family had moved to the nearby city of Samarra. He was a mediocre student. His high school transcript shows that his highest grade was in art (95 out of 100), while in core subjects like algebra, he mustered scores in the low 50s.

In interviews with 17 people who knew al-Baghdadi, including friends, classmates, neighbors, teachers and former pupils, he was described as “shy,” “reserved,” “isolated” and “quiet.” He found his place, they said, at the local mosque, where his father enrolled him in a Quranic memorization class.

“Yes, he had a spiritual gift,” said the owner of the Ahmed Ibn Hanbal mosque, Khalid Ahmed Ismael, adding, “His soul was connected to the mosque.”

Mr. Ismael recalled how, without being prompted, al-Baghdadi — a nom de guerre he adopted when he became a militant — would lead the other boys in cleaning the house of worship, dragging the carpets outside, hosing them down and placing them on the roof to dry.

And he quickly outdid the other boys in the memorization and recitation of scripture. By the time he was in high school, congregants began asking for the boy to lead the prayer in the imam’s place.

“That’s how sweet his voice was,” Mr. Ismael said. “It was so sweet that you could feel the sweetness and it would attract others into the mosque.”

But already there were signs that al-Baghdadi saw his conservative approach to faith as one that should be imposed on others.

When a neighbor got a tattoo of a heart on his arm, al-Baghdadi lectured him. Tattoos, the neighbor, Younes Taha, recalled him saying, are forbidden under Islamic law. Soon, he even felt comfortable reproaching his mentors. “When you stand up and recite the prayer, the smell of your breath will make the angels fly away,” he reportedly told Mr. Ismael, 53, when the mosque owner began smoking.

At age 20, in 1991, he enrolled in the Shariah college of Baghdad University, according to school records obtained by The New York Times from Iraq’s Mukhabarat intelligence agency.

He earned a bachelor’s degree, and then enrolled at Saddam University, an institution dedicated to Islamic studies, where he earned a master’s degree and a doctorate in topics related to Islamic scripture.

To pay for his studies, he taught Quranic classes at al-Haj Zaidan Mosque in the Topchi neighborhood of Baghdad, where his pupils referred to him as “Sheikh Ibrahim.” Those who interacted with him described him as taciturn and reserved, a quality that impressed his students.

“When I asked him, ‘Sheikh Ibrahim, I have a question for you,’ he would answer just the question and nothing more,” said the mosque’s current imam, Ahmed Rajab, who was al-Baghdadi’s pupil in the early 2000s. “We would try to get him to talk to us. He didn’t gossip. His reserve came from his self-discipline.”

But outside the mosque, some began to be bothered by his proselytizing.

On weekends, he coached a youth soccer team, using practices as an opportunity to hand out pamphlets advocating the ultraconservative Wahhabi strain of Islam.

“We were like: ‘Why? We’re here to play soccer.’ I just took it and threw it away,” recalled Faisal Ghazi Taih, one of the former players. His parents pulled him off the team when they found out, he said.

In 2003, as military jets sliced the sky over Baghdad and the American invasion to topple Saddam Hussein began, al-Baghdadi told his students at the mosque in Topchi that he was heading home.

Less than a year later, Mr. Taha was watching TV when he suddenly recognized his former neighbor in footage showing detainees arrested by American forces. They were lined up in orange jumpsuits, the same color that Western hostages of ISIS would later be forced to wear in their execution videos.

Security officials say that al-Baghdadi was arrested near Falluja at the home of his in-laws in January 2004.

The target of the raid was al-Baghdadi’s brother-in-law, who had taken up arms against the American occupation. Al-Baghdadi was swept up in the raid, considered little more than a hanger-on at that point, officials said. He spent 11 months in a detention center at Camp Bucca, according to declassified Pentagon records.

Some analysts have argued that it was his time in American custody that radicalized him. Those who were imprisoned alongside him, however, say he was already committed to violence when he entered the sprawling prison camp.

Talib al-Mayahi, now 54, met al-Baghdadi inside the tent where they were both assigned at Camp Bucca. Al-Baghdadi was in his 30s and went by the nom de guerre “Abu Dua,” recalled his fellow detainee, who is under a form of witness protection in Iraq and was interviewed in the presence of Mukhabarat intelligence agents.

The prisoners inside the camp were beginning to organize, appointing secret “emirs” of each tent, Mr. al-Mayahi said, and al-Baghdadi was chosen to lead his. He immediately set to work driving Shia prisoners from the tent, leaning on a gang of fellow Sunni prisoners, armed with shanks made from the metal mined from the camp’s air-conditioning units, Mr. al-Mayahi said.

Hatred of the Shia was a hallmark of the insurgency that was sweeping across Iraq. Their places of worship began to be targeted in a move that was criticized even by Al Qaeda. Later, it would become a hallmark of the Islamic State, whose followers began targeting the sect throughout the world, dispatching suicide bombers to Shia sites in Lebanon, in Afghanistan, in Iran and in Bangladesh.

“It got to the point where Shia prisoners would ask to be transferred to another tent,” Mr. al-Mayahi said. “Then when there were no Shia left, he began threatening fellow Sunnis: Why are you smoking? How come you didn’t show up to prayer? Why is your beard so short?”

Pentagon records indicate that Al-Baghdadi was released in late 2004, a failure of intelligence that would come to haunt American officials.

“It’s hard to imagine we could have had a crystal ball then that would tell us he’d become head of ISIS,” a Pentagon official told The Times a decade later.

For years, he disappeared from view. Then in 2009, security forces recovered a cache of documents in a safe house used by the militants and found the name “Abu Dua” on the group’s personnel list.

His clout inside the terrorist group did not become clear until months later, when security forces captured a senior leader of the insurgency, said Abu Ali al-Basri, the director general of Iraqi intelligence.

At a checkpoint in Baghdad in March of 2010, Iraqi agents arrested Manaf al-Rawi, believed to be one of the executioners of an American contractor, Nick Berg, whose videotaped beheading was posted on the internet. Under interrogation, Mr. al-Rawi named “Abu Dua,” as one of the group’s coordinators, tasked with passing secret messages between the insurgents.

“I directly sent word to the prime minister with the names of three people we deemed important based on the interrogation of Manaf al-Rawi,” Mr. al-Basri said. “One of the three was Baghdadi.”

Not long after, in May of 2010, the insurgents announced their new leader: It was Abu Dua, who now introduced himself to the world as “Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.”

The meaning of the new nom de guerre was not lost on his future followers: Abu Bakr was the first caliph after the Prophet Muhammad’s death in ancient Arabia and is credited with the wave of Islamic expansion that followed.

For the next three years, Mr. al-Basri’s agents hunted al-Baghdadi, setting up at least six stings to arrest him.

There were numerous near-misses, he claims, saying they came close to catching him in the Baghdad district of Mansour, then in Adamiya, where he was spotted driving. Yet on another occasion, they got a tip that he was driving to the town of Ghazaliya to meet with a Qaeda operative.

And finally in Topchi, near the mosque where his voice used to call the faithful to prayer, they laid an ambush. Somehow, he managed to get away.

“At that point, he was more lucky than he was smart,” Mr. al-Basri said.

But with each close call, al-Baghdadi became more circumspect, more obsessed with security and more untrusting. He is believed to have stopped using cellphones over a decade ago, relying exclusively on hand-delivered messages, Mr. al-Basri said.

In 2014, when he ascended the marbled pulpit of a mosque in Mosul to declare the caliphate, it was the first time a video appeared that showed his face uncovered.

Al-Baghdadi’s reclusiveness fed rumors of his demise, with many news outlets carrying speculative reports of his death, all of which proved to be untrue. Each time, he resurfaced in audio recordings, and later videos, thumbing his nose at the world.

American officials who worked in the Obama administration say that for all of 2014, 2015 and 2016 there was not a single time when they believed they had solid intelligence about al-Baghdadi’s whereabouts, even as numerous other senior Islamic State leaders were hunted down and killed, including al-Baghdadi’s No. 2.

But unlike Osama bin Laden, al-Baghdadi was no recluse.

Bin Laden walled himself off from the world in a compound in Pakistan in an effort to avoid detection and operated as a distant manager. Al-Baghdadi, by contrast, was directly involved in some of his group’s most notorious atrocities, including the organized rape of women considered to be nonbelievers.

One of them was D, who was just 15 years old when she was kidnapped alongside other Yazidi women and girls from her village at the foot of Mount Sinjar a few weeks after the declaration of the caliphate. Interviewed after her escape, she asked to be identified by only her first initial because of the stigma of rape, and described how the women and girls were transported to a building in Raqqa, which acted as a viewing gallery for the men wishing to enslave them.

The first man to come in was al-Baghdadi, she said, information that was confirmed by two other girls who were held at the same facility.

“I noticed right away that he was important — everybody stood up when he walked in,” D said.

She and the other girls he chose were moved from house to house, eventually ending up in the same villa as 26-year-old American aid worker Kayla Mueller of Prescott, Ariz. All of them were taken out and raped by al-Baghdadi, including Ms. Mueller, who returned to their shared room sobbing unconsolably, according to the account of survivors that was confirmed by American officials and Ms. Mueller’s mother.

Al-Baghdadi took pleasure in brutality, the women held captive said.

One day in August 2014, D was summoned to see him. Fearing she was about to be raped again, she was surprised when al-Baghdadi took her into the living room, not the bedroom, and asked her to sit next to him on a couch.

“He had a big, black laptop,” she said, recalling how he hit “play” on a video on the screen. It showed the execution of an American journalist, James Foley.

“He told us, ‘We killed this man today,’” she said. “He was laughing at our reaction.”

Some who knew al-Baghdadi the longest wondered if it was his very nature that accounted for his ability to evade capture for so long, and not just his extreme security measures.

Hussam Mehdi, an ISIS member who first met al-Baghdadi at Camp Bucca and is now in jail in Baghdad, said his enduring memory of the man who would become one of the world’s most powerful terrorists was of him walking back and forth along the fence line — by himself.

“It’s something I have wondered about: a man who was totally alone, a person who doesn’t socialize, just ‘salaam alaikum,’ and then moves on,” Mr. Mehdi said. “I wonder if it’s because he likes to be alone that isolation came easily to him.”

Mr. Mehdi thought back to the men who had come before al-Baghdadi at the helm of the Islamic State.

“Abu Musab was killed,” he said. “Abu Omar was killed. But Abu Bakr lasted.”

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Al-Baghdadi kill: How the daring military operation went down

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6098242023001_6098237761001-vs Al-Baghdadi kill: How the daring military operation went down fox-news/world/terrorism/isis fox-news/us/terror fox-news/politics/foreign-policy fox-news/politics/executive/white-house fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/politics fnc c2541a33-f67e-552b-b8c7-562f079f19f1 article Andrew O'Reilly

The suicide of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was preceded by a largescale U.S. Special Operations forces raid on a compound in northern Syria’s Idlib Province, where the terrorist leader was thought to be hiding.

In an address to the nation on Sunday, President Trump said that planning for the raid on al-Baghdadi’s compound began two weeks ago when the U.S. gained unspecified intelligence on al-Baghdadi’s whereabouts.

Unlike the raid in Pakistan in 2011 that led to the death of Osama bin Laden, which was carried out by a small team of U.S. Navy Seals, the raid on al-Baghdadi’s compound was a relatively large assault by U.S. forces with a reported eight military helicopters landing in the Barisha area north of Idlib city — a few kilometers from the Turkish border.

ISIS LEADER CALLS FOR ‘CALIPHATE SOLDIERS’ TO FREE DETAINEES FROM CAMPS, CONTINUE ATTACKS

The helicopters flew fast and low to the ground on their approach to the compound and U.S. forces – between 50 and 70 soldiers from the U.S. Army Delta Force and Rangers – were met with sporadic gunfire. But the president said that no American troops or personnel were killed or injured during the raid, during his Sunday morning announcement at the White House.

Much like former President Barack Obama during the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound, Trump watched the raid unfold on Saturday night from the White House Situation Room. The president described watching the raid while it was underway “as though you were watching a movie.”

Trump said U.S. forces breached the walls of the compound since the doors and other entryways were booby-trapped with explosives. Once inside the compound, the U.S. troops chased al-Baghdadi, along with three of the terrorist group leader’s children, into a “dead-end tunnel.”

Once inside the tunnel, al-Baghdadi set off a suicide vest he was wearing, immediately killing himself and his children, while also partially collapsing the tunnel. Trump said U.S. military dogs chased the terrorist into the tunnel and it was reported that at least one of the dogs was injured during the raid.

“He died after running into a dead-end tunnel, whimpering and crying and screaming,” Trump said. “The thug who tried so hard to intimidate others spent his last moments in utter fear, panic and dread – terrified of the American Forces bearing down.”

While al-Baghdadi’s body was severely mutilated in the explosion, his identity was positively confirmed by a DNA test conducted onsite.

The president added that by the time of al-Baghdadi’s suicide, the compound had been cleared by U.S. forces with any combatants either being shot or killed. Eleven young children were reported to have been moved from the compound, with al-Baghdadi’s three children the only ones not making it out alive.

A senior Turkish official said “to the best of my knowledge” al-Baghdadi had arrived at a location in Syria 48 hours prior to the U.S. military raid

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Syria war monitor, reported an attack carried out by a squadron of eight helicopters accompanied by a warplane belonging to the international coalition on positions of the Hurras al-Deen, an al-Qaida-linked group, in the Barisha area north of Idlib city, after midnight on Saturday. ISIS operatives were believed to be hiding in the area, it said.

It said the helicopters targeted ISIS positions with heavy strikes for about two hours, during which jihadists fired at the aircraft with heavy weapons. The Britain-based Observatory, which operates through a network of activists on the ground, documented the death of nine people as a result of the coalition helicopter attack.

Trump said that following the raid, American forces had landed safely in a third country.

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Al-Baghdadi had led ISIS for the last five years, presiding over its ascendancy as it cultivated a reputation for beheadings and attracted tens of thousands of followers to a sprawling and self-styled caliphate in Iraq and Syria. He remained among the few ISIS commanders still at large despite multiple claims in recent years about his death and even as his so-called caliphate dramatically shrank, with many supporters who joined the cause either imprisoned or jailed.

Trump said the death of al-Baghdadi shows the United States will continue pursuing other terrorist leaders and that none should rest easy.

“These savage monsters will not escape their fate,” he said, adding that the “losers” who worked for al-Baghdadi had “no idea what they were getting into.”

Fox News Jennifer Griffin and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6098242023001_6098237761001-vs Al-Baghdadi kill: How the daring military operation went down fox-news/world/terrorism/isis fox-news/us/terror fox-news/politics/foreign-policy fox-news/politics/executive/white-house fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/politics fnc c2541a33-f67e-552b-b8c7-562f079f19f1 article Andrew O'Reilly   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6098242023001_6098237761001-vs Al-Baghdadi kill: How the daring military operation went down fox-news/world/terrorism/isis fox-news/us/terror fox-news/politics/foreign-policy fox-news/politics/executive/white-house fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/politics fnc c2541a33-f67e-552b-b8c7-562f079f19f1 article Andrew O'Reilly

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