However, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office told the station that a preliminary investigation suggested the remains had been in the area for at least a year, so the death was unrelated to the current fire.
An engine crew looks for any remaining hot spots from the Tick Fire, Oct. 25, 2019, in Santa Clarita, Calif. (Associated Press)
The Tick Fire was reported to be 55 percent contained as of early Sunday, according to the Associated Press.
Meanwhile, the Kincade Fire continued to cause damage in Northern California, prompting an evacuation order for about 90,000 residents and precautionary shutoffs of electricity to Pacific Gas & Electric customers.
WASHINGTON — United States Special Operations commandos carried out a risky raid in northwestern Syria on Saturday against a senior terrorist leader there, two senior administration officials said late Saturday.
A senior American official said commandos and analysts were still seeking to confirm the identity of the terrorist, who the officials said was killed in the operation when he exploded his suicide vest.
But a person close to President Trump said that the target of the raid was believed to be the leader of the Islamic State, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. A senior administration official said that the president had approved the mission.
Officials said the raid was in Idlib Province, hundreds of miles from the area along the Syrian-Iraqi border where Mr. Baghdadi was long believed to be hiding. Idlib is dominated by jihadist rebel groups hostile to him.
Mr. Trump teased that a major event had occurred with a tweet devoid of context shortly before 9:30 p.m. “Something very big has just happened!” the president wrote.
Roughly 90 minutes later, a White House spokesman, Hogan Gidley, said that Mr. Trump would deliver a statement at 9 a.m. on Sunday, an unusual time for formal presidential remarks, and one that coincides with the morning news shows. Mr. Gidley declined to elaborate on what Mr. Trump planned to say.
An American official said that commandos from the Army’s elite Delta Force carried out the mission with the C.I.A. providing intelligence and reconnaissance information on the ground.
Pentagon spokesmen declined to comment but said that in addition to Mr. Trump’s statement on Sunday morning, Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper would appear on the morning shows to discuss developments in Syria. Mr. Esper had not been previously scheduled as a guest.
The raid came as the United States continued to withdraw hundreds of troops from northern Syria who had been conducting counterterrorism missions, while sending in several hundred other forces to guard eastern oil fields in Syria against the Islamic State.
Some analysts expressed skepticism that Mr. Baghdadi would be hiding in Idlib, in northwest Syria. He was always thought to be hiding in the borderlands between Iraq and Syria in the heart of the Islamic State’s former caliphate, or religious state.
The dominant group in Idlib is a jihadist organization called Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, formerly known as the Nusra Front, which was linked to Al Qaeda. They and ISIS are rivals so it would be surprising if Mr. Baghdadi were hiding in Idlib. But hundreds of ISIS fighters fleeing Iraq and northeastern Syria are believed to be hiding in the northwest, some even joining their former Qaeda rivals, so analysts said it is possible Mr. Baghdadi found refuge with them.
The Islamic State has not had a significant presence in Idlib for many years since they were chased out of northwest Syria by angry rebels.
An American official said on Saturday night that senior military officials had decided that, with American forces largely withdrawing from Syria, commandos should take action quickly to try to kill or capture senior terrorists in northwest Syria before the United States lost that ability.
Mr. Baghdadi, the cunning and enigmatic black-clad leader of the Islamic State, transformed a flagging insurgency into a global terrorist network that drew tens of thousands of recruits from 100 countries.
He has been the target of a yearslong, international manhunt that consumed the intelligence services of at least four different countries, and is believed to hew to extreme security measures, even when meeting with his most-trusted associates. He has been incorrectly reported killed or wounded multiple times.
Much of the world first learned of Mr. 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.
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.
In these territories, the group known variously as ISIS, ISIL and Daesh imposed its violent interpretation of Islam.
Security officials say that Mr. Baghdadi was arrested near the Iraqi city of Falluja at the home of his in-laws in January 2004.
The target of the raid was his brother-in-law, who had taken up arms against the American occupation. Mr. 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.
Some analysts have argued that it was Mr. Baghdadi’s time in American custody that radicalized him. But those who were imprisoned alongside him say he was already committed to violence when he entered the sprawling prison camp.
Pentagon records indicate that Mr. Baghdadi was released in late 2004, a failure of intelligence that would come to haunt American officials.
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, the nom de guerre Mr. Baghdadi was using at the time.
In May 2010, the insurgents announced their new leader: It was Abu Dua, who now introduced himself to the world as “Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.”
There were numerous near-misses in attempts to arrest him. But with each close call, Mr. 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.
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.
Mr. Baghdadi’s reclusiveness fed rumors of his demise, with many news media outlets carrying speculative reports of his death, all of which proved to be untrue. Each time, he resurfaced in audio recordings, thumbing his nose at the world.
Eric Schmitt reported from Washington, and Maggie Haberman and Rukmini Callimachi from New York.
Alex Bregman of the Houston Astros hits a grand slam during the seventh inning in Game Four of the 2019 World Series at Nationals Park on Saturday. The World Series is now tied 2-2. Patrick Smith/Getty Imageshide caption
Patrick Smith/Getty Images
Alex Bregman of the Houston Astros hits a grand slam during the seventh inning in Game Four of the 2019 World Series at Nationals Park on Saturday. The World Series is now tied 2-2.
Patrick Smith/Getty Images
The Houston Astros beat the 8-1 Washington Nationals in Game 4 of the World Series to tie it up 2-2.
After losing the first two games at home, the Astros came back to win Game 3 in Washington and continued that momentum through Game 4.
Second-baseman José Altuve was the first Astro to get on base in the first inning while facing Washington’s starting pitcher Patrick Corbin. Left-fielder Michael Brantley came up next with another single before third baseman Alex Bregman hit an RBI that gave the Astros their first run of the night.
First baseman Yuli Gurriel followed with an infield RBI single that brought in a second run for Houston. The Nationals got out of the top of the inning with a double play from Washington third baseman Anthony Rendon.
The Astros extended their lead to 4-0 in the fourth inning after a home run from catcher Robinson Chirinos that brought in shortshop Carlos Correa who had walked to first.
The Nationals faced rookie José Urquidy as the Astros’ starting pitcher, but the Nats didn’t score until the sixth inning. Facing Houston’s Josh James, the Nationals saw two walks and one out before the Astros brought in Will Harris. Washington scored their first and only run of the game after a groundout to first by left fielder Juan Soto brought in Gerardo Parra.
The Nationals brought Tanner Rainey in to pitch during the seventh inning, but after two walks and one out he was replaced by Fernando Rodney. Rodney gave up a single to Brantley before Bregman stepped up to bat and hit a grand slam, further solidifying the Astros’ lead 8-1.
The series continues in Washington with Game 5 on Sunday with the Nationals’ Max Scherzer facing the Astros’ Gerrit Cole.
Houston’s win over Washington on Saturday ensures that the Astros will return home to Minute Maid Park for a Game 6.
SportsPulse: USA TODAY Sports’ Paul Myerberg provides his opinion of the top three programs in the history of college football. USA TODAY
Oklahoma’s defense came up short in Saturday’s shocking 48-41 loss at Kansas State, sending the Sooners reeling in the College Football Playoff race and calling into question whether the Big 12 will be represented in December’s national semifinals.
The defeat ends one of the most impressive streaks in college football: Oklahoma hadn’t lost a true road game since falling to TCU on Oct. 4, 2014. The 22-game winning streak was the longest in the Bowl Subdivision.
There was reason for optimism surrounding the Sooners’ defense. New coordinator Alex Grinch had a profound impact during the team’s unbeaten start, trimming the defense’s per-play average by one full yard compared to a year ago — OU entered Saturday ranked 37th nationally in yards allowed per snap — and molding together a unit that seemingly meshed with an offense once again ranked among the nation’s best.
Stranger still, the defense entered Saturday playing its best football of the season: OU gave up just 242 yards across 64 plays in last week’s 52-14 win against West Virginia, and had nine sacks in the rivalry win against Texas on Oct. 12.
Then came Kansas State, with a ball-control offense that negated the Sooners’ greatest asset — keeping Jalen Hurts and the offense on the sidelines — while taking advantage of two OU turnovers. In all, the Wildcats gained 428 yards on 72 plays, 215 coming on the ground across 44 carries, and possessed the ball for more than 37 minutes.
Conversely, the Sooners ran only 53 plays and trailed 48-23 two minutes into the fourth quarter before a burst of scoring to draw within a touchdown. While Hurts threw for 395 yards and added another 96 on the ground, the rest of Oklahoma’s running game combined for just six yards on seven carries.
So there’s the blueprint for beating the Sooners: Don’t let the Oklahoma offense operate. In this case, Kansas State operated the blueprint nearly to perfection while the Sooners’ defense was unable to hold up its end of the bargain.
For the first time this season, one of the gold-standard postseason contenders has stumbled. It had been the status quo since August for teams such as the Sooners, Clemson, Alabama, LSU and Ohio State — but now the playoff race takes on a different feel heading into November.
One of the big winners, beyond the Wildcats themselves, might be Oregon. The current Pac-12 Conference favorite had been shipped to the outskirts of the playoff chase after losing in the opener to Auburn. In the weeks since, however, the Ducks have built a case for being included among the best teams in the FBS. Now Oregon finds a potential path for eventually joining the top four, at Oklahoma’s expense.
Here are the rest of Saturday’s winners and losers:
If everything ends up according to plan for the Wildcats’ new coaching staff — and there are some major expectations surrounding first-year coach Chris Klieman, formerly of North Dakota State — Saturday’s win will be seen as the turning point. Well, obviously. But Kansas State’s style of play, with its more methodical offensive approach and dedicated running game, seems almost an outlier in a conference built around offensive ingenuity along with speed and tempo. After losing two in a row to open Big 12 play, the Wildcats are now 5-2 and a lock for a return to the postseason, with the likelihood of drawing some attention in this week’s Amway Coaches Poll.
The Buckeyes continue to impress. Saturday’s 38-7 win against Wisconsin was once a close game, believe it or not, with sloppy weather and the Badgers’ defense keeping Ohio State off the scoreboard until a field goal more than midway through the second quarter, though the Buckeyes added a touchdown before halftime. Then OSU flexed: Wisconsin scored a touchdown to make it 10-7 a few minutes into the second half and the Buckeyes responded by scoring the game’s final 28 points to cruise to 8-0 heading into an off week to open November.
A second Ohio State item, in brief: Chase Young is beginning to build some Heisman Trophy momentum from his spot at defensive end, with a particularly disruptive performance against the Badgers’ solid offensive line. While it’s almost impossible to picture a defender winning the Heisman, Young has at least proved himself more than worthy of being the first overall pick in next year’s NFL draft.
LSU passed another test, though Auburn made the unbeaten Tigers sweat. Auburn led 13-10 with five minutes left in the third quarter until Joe Burrow and the LSU offense began to wear down Auburn’s defense with two scoring drives. While freshman quarterback Bo Nix led Auburn to a late touchdown to draw within 23-20, the Auburn offense struggled — Nix ended his day with 15 completions in 35 attempts for 157 yards and the Tigers gained just 287 yards overall — while LSU rallied around Burrow, who hit on 32 of his 42 throws for 321 yards and a touchdown. LSU will have a week off before the winner-take-all matchup with Alabama on Nov. 9.
The Hoosiers are now 6-2 under coach Tom Allen after a 38-31 win at Nebraska, which has gone from preseason favorites in the Big Ten West to a team that will have to scramble to reach the postseason. While the Hoosiers don’t seem to be in the same class as the best teams in the East Division, Allen has Indiana back in bowl play for the first time since 2016 with a shot at nine wins. The program hasn’t won nine games since 1967, when the Hoosiers last won a Big Ten championship and reached the Rose Bowl.
Kansas is now 3-5 after an enjoyable 37-34 win again against Texas Tech. The ending was hard to imagine: Texas Tech blocked the Jayhawks’ potential game-winning field goal with 13 seconds, only to fumble the blocked attempt back to Kansas, which took over the 15-yard line with two seconds left. The second attempt was good from 32 yards, so add this finish to the consistently updated highlight tape of Les Miles’ wackiest moments. The two teams combined for 1,010 yards of offense.
Clemson only scored one touchdown in the fourth quarter against Boston College. What’s wrong with the Tigers? (Clemson led 52-7 after three quarters and finished with 674 yards of offense to the Eagles’ 177.)
UCF scored 63 points, averaged eight yards per carry, ran for 385 yards and gained 614 yards overall in taking a sledgehammer to Temple’s normally solid defense, which has cratered across the past two weeks in losses to the Knights and SMU. UCF has been pushed off the New Year’s Six picture since suffering its second loss but still has the look of a team worthy of the Top 25.
While on the topic of things that don’t make sense, the Big 12 saw three perceived front-runners lose on Saturday. The first was Oklahoma. Later, Texas lost 37-27 at TCU after another impressive performance by the Horned Frogs’ freshman quarterback, Max Duggan, who looks the part of a multiple-year starter. That gives the Longhorns two losses in three games, sandwiching last week’s 50-48 win against Kansas, and three losses overall. Worse yet, Iowa State suffered its second conference loss after falling 34-27 at home to Oklahoma State. That leaves just one team, Baylor, without a Big 12 loss. (As everyone predicted back in August.)
Saturday saw the Spartans trail 21-0 at halftime in a listless, rain-soaked 28-7 loss to surging Penn State. To put this team’s offensive ineptitude into perspective: Michigan State ended the month of October with 17 points. That’s 17 points, added up, across three games; Stanford scored 24 points in the second quarter of Saturday’s 41-31 win against Arizona. The Spartans’ offense has become an annual embarrassment and coach Mark Dantonio can no longer afford keep ducking questions about the continued nosedive on this side of the ball.
Pittsburgh entered Saturday’s matchup with reeling Miami (Fla.) with a good chance at drawing even with Virginia atop the division — though the Cavaliers own the tiebreaker — and maybe squeezing into the final spot or two of the Amway Coaches Poll. But this is the Coastal, where nothing goes according to plan. After the Hurricanes’ 16-12 win and the Cavaliers’ 28-21 loss to Louisville, six of the seven Coastal teams are either 3-2, 2-2 or 2-3 in league play. (Georgia Tech is the exception at 1-3 in the ACC.) There’s still a shot at every team in the Coastal minus the Yellow Jackets finishing tied atop the conference standings come the end of November.
Missouri has lost to Vanderbilt and Kentucky in the past two weeks. Saturday’s loss to the Wildcats may have been the uglier of the pair, believe it or not. Missouri managed only 289 yards of offense in the 29-7 loss, which drops the Tigers to 5-3 heading into games against Georgia and Florida.
Michigan’s 45-14 win on Saturday night keeps the Wolverines in the thick of things for a New Year’s Six bowl while giving Jim Harbaugh’s team a reason to be positive amid a season thus far defined by losses to Wisconsin and Penn State. For Notre Dame, on the other hand, the loss means the Fighting Irish may end the regular season without one win against another team in the Top 25, since Virginia has already fallen out of the Coaches Poll. (Though Navy and Stanford might sneak into the Amway Coaches Poll by Nov. 16 or Nov. 30, respectively.)
Alex Bregman busted out of his slump with a go-ahead single in the first inning and a grand slam in the seventh, and the resurgent Astros routed the Nationals 8-1 Saturday night to tie the Series at two games apiece.
Game 1 winner Max Scherzer takes the mound Sunday night hoping to get Washington a home Series victory for the first time since the Senators at Griffith Stadium in 1933. In a rematch of the opener, Gerrit Cole goes for Houston after losing for the first time since May.
Houston Astros starting pitcher Jose Urquidy throws against the Washington Nationals during the first inning of Game 4 of the World Series, Oct. 26, 2019, in Washington. (Associated Press)
Visiting teams have won the first four games for the first time since 1996, when the Yankees broke the pattern in Game 6 against Atlanta to take the title.
Game 6 will be Tuesday night in Houston, when the Astros lose their road-field advantage.
Yuli Gurriel also drove in a run in the first as Houston strung together four singles in a seven-pitch span for a 2-0 lead against Patrick Corbin. Robinson Chirinos homered for the second straight day, a two-run drive that boosted the lead to 4-0 in the fourth.
Fans started leaving in the seventh, when the Astros sent 10 batters to the plate and battered the bullpen. Bregman, who began the night in a 1-for-13 Series slide, had the big blow, driving a low, inside fastball from Fernando Rodney into the left field stands of the ballpark where was the All-Star Game MVP in 2018. He held his bat high as he slowly walked out of the batter’s box, then took nearly 30 seconds to circle the bases.
Orange-clad Houston fans in the right field upper deck chanted “Let’s go Astros!” as Nationals fans were silenced. Wild-card Washington lost consecutive games for the first time since Sept. 13-14 against Atlanta.
Houston Astros’ Alex Bregman watches his grand slam against the Washington Nationals during the seventh inning of Game 4 of the World Series, Oct. 26, 2019, in Washington. (Associated Press)
Starting pitchers were the talk of the Series coming in, with Washington’s Stephen Strasburg, Scherzer and Corbin combining for 12 All-Star selections and three Cy Young Awards. The baseball cards of Houston’s Cole, Justin Verlander and Zack Greinke shine with 17 All-Star picks, two Cy Youngs and one MVP.
But there were just five 1-2-3 innings by starters in the first three games, and the most consecutive outs were by the Nationals’ Aníbal Sánchez, who retired seven straight in Game 3.
Urquidy, a 24-year-old right-hander, exceeded them all.
Not bad for a TBA.
Urquidy wasn’t even announced as Houston’s starter until after Game 3, with manager AJ Hinch hoping to piece together innings any way he could.
The right-hander began the season at Double-A Corpus Christi, was bumped up to Triple-A Round Rock in mid-May and made his major league debut in July. He faced the Nationals in just his 12th big league appearance, joining Fernando Valenzuela (1981) and Jaime García (2011) as the only Mexican starting pitchers in Series history.
Urquidy allowed two hits in five scoreless innings, striking out four and walking none. Mixing four-seam fastballs in the mid-90s (mph) with two-seamers, sliders, curves and changeups, he set down the Nationals in order in the second, fourth and fifth, retiring his final nine batters. He threw 30 of his first 38 pitches for strikes, 45 of 67 overall.
Josh James, Will Harris, Héctor Rondón, Brad Peacock and Chris Devenski combined for two-hit relief.
Washington’s best chance to get back into the game came in the sixth, when Harris relieved with two on and one out. Anthony Rendon singled off the pitcher’s leg, loading the bases, and Juan Soto drove in a run with a groundout. Harris then struck out Howie Kendrick. After going 7 for 21 with runners in scoring position in the first two games, the Nationals are 1 for 19 in the last two.
Houston flipped for the positive, going 9 for 23 with RISP after starting 3 for 17 in the two losses. The Astros burst ahead with timely hitting for the second straight night, getting consecutive one-out singles by José Altuve, Michael Brantley, Bregman and Gurriel.
Brantley had three hits, raising his Series average to .471 (8 for 17). Bregman also finished with three hits.
Chirinos, who homered off the screen on the left field foul pole to drive in Houston’s final run in Game 3, sent a flat changeup from Corbin deep into the left field seats, then slapped his chest and grinned as he skipped across home plate. The catcher doubled in the ninth and is 4 for 11 against the Nationals.
Signed to a $140 million, six-year contract as a free agent last offseason, Corbin dropped to 1-3 in three postseason starts and four relief appearances. He actually lowered his ERA to 6.64.
Going back to Boston’s wins in Games 4 and 5 at Dodger Stadium last year, visiting teams won have won six straight in the World Series for the first time since the Yankees at Brooklyn and Philadelphia in 1949 and ’50. … Road teams also won the first four games in 1906, 1923 and 1986.
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, leader of the self-described Islamic State, was killed during a U.S. military operation in northwestern Syria, President Donald Trump announced during a press conference Sunday.
“Last night, the United States brought the world’s number one terrorist leader to justice. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is dead,” Trump began. “He was the founder and leader of ISIS ― the most ruthless and violent terror organization anywhere in the world.”
According to the president, U.S. special operations forces conducted the nighttime raid and “accomplished their mission in grand style.” American military dogs chased Baghdadi to the end of a tunnel, where he was “whimpering and crying and screaming all the way,” Trump said.
As U.S. forces closed in on him, Baghdadi detonated a suicide vest, killing himself and three of his young children, Trump said.
“He died like a dog,” he said. “He died like a coward.”
The president said U.S. forces conducted a DNA test to determine Baghdadi was killed during the operation.
“They have his DNA — more of it than they even want,” he said. “They did an onsite test. They had samples. … It was positive.”
Trump said many ISIS fighters were killed but no U.S. personnel suffered injuries in the operation ― save for one military dog that followed Baghdadi into the tunnel and was wounded.
Defense Secretary Mark Esper later corrected the president’s remarks, saying two U.S. soldiers had also suffered minor injuries in the raid. “They’ve already returned to duty,” Esper said of the injured Americans, according to CNN.
“Last night, the United States brought the world’s #1 terrorist leader to justice.”
Trump announces the killing of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the founder and leader of ISIS, which he called “the top national security priority” of his administration pic.twitter.com/3ovZHug4jm
Speculation had been rife in the hours leading up to Trump’s announcement as to whether Baghdadi, who’d been in hiding for the last five years, had been killed in the U.S. assault.
Trump appeared to hint at the news in a cryptic tweet, saying on Saturday night without elaboration that “something very big just happened.”
Of his tweet, Trump ― who watched the operation unfold from the Situation Room ― said Sunday that he “sent that right after I knew” U.S. troops had “landed safely” in a “very friendly” country after the raid.
Trump said he informed some Republican members of Congress on Sunday morning about Baghdadi’s death, but acknowledged that he did not alert congressional leadership of the planned raid ahead of its execution.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) applauded Baghdadi’s demise, calling him a “bloodthirsty killer,” but said Trump made a “mistake” by not giving him and the rest of the “Gang of Eight” ― a bipartisan group of congressional leaders ― a heads-up beforehand.
“Look, the reason to notify the Gang of Eight is frankly more important when things go wrong,” Schiff said during an interview with ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday. “Had something gone wrong, had we gotten into a firefight with the Russians, it’s to the administration’s advantage to say we informed Congress.”
Schiff said then-President Barack Obama had notified the Gang of Eight ahead of the U.S. operation that killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Pakistan in 2011.
As the leader of ISIS since 2010, Baghdadi oversaw the group’s expansion from an extremist cell under the umbrella of al Qaeda into a sprawling international terror organization.
ISIS took over large parts of Iraq and Syria under Baghdadi’s leadership, and claimed numerous deadly terror attacks across the world. But in recent years ISIS has essentially gone back underground after losing nearly all the territory it seized. Much of its core leadership has been captured or killed, and it no longer occupies any major cities.
Baghdadi’s death is a major blow to the group and leaves no obvious immediate successor.
Reuters TV / Reuters A bearded man believed to be ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi speaks in a screengrab taken from a video released on April 29, 2019.
On Sunday, Trump thanked Russia, Turkey, Syria and Iraq for helping the U.S. in the mission to take down Baghdadi, who he said had been under U.S. surveillance for a couple of weeks.
He also expressed gratitude to Syrian Kurds, who he said had provided “some information that turned out to be helpful.” Trump recently drew bipartisan backlash for abruptly withdrawing American forces from northern Syria, essentially abandoning the U.S.-allied Kurdish forces as Turkey launched a military offensive against them.
An Iraqi intelligence official told Reuters on Sunday that Iraq’s intelligence service had provided the U.S. with the exact coordinates of Baghdadi’s location.
Though Trump said Iraq had been “excellent” in its cooperation with the U.S., he said “we got very little help” overall.
“We had our own intel,” he said. “We got very little help. We didn’t need much help.”
NEW: Pres. Trump on raid killing ISIS leader: “I want to thank the nations of Russia, Turkey, Syria, and Iraq.
Baghdadi was born Ibrahim Awwad Ibrahim Ali al Badriin in the Iraqi city of Samarra, 77 miles north of Baghdad, in 1971.
Baghdadi pursued Quranic studies in the late 1990s while obtaining his master’s degree at Baghdad’s Saddam University. He also developed an interest in Islamist extremist ideology.
During the Iraq War in 2004, authorities arrested Baghdadi over his ties toanti-government insurgents and held him at Camp Bucca detention center in Iraq. The U.S-controlled facility held many extremists, including a group that would form al Qaeda in Iraq, a precursor to ISIS.
In the months after his December 2004 release, Baghdadi became involved in al Qaeda in Iraq and became a leading religious figure within the group ― he obtained a doctorate in Quranic studies in 2007 to bolster his credentials.
Baghdadi assumed leadership of the militant organization now known as ISIS in May 2010, after a U.S. airstrike killed the group’s former leaders Abu Ayyub al Masri and Abu Umar. The organization’s leadership council, made up of longtime al Qaeda militants and former Saddam Hussein loyalists, formally elected Baghdadi as its emir soon after.
When Baghdadi took over as leader, the militant group was almost solely based in Iraq and much of its senior leadership had recently been killed in counterterrorism operations. But the onset of the Syrian civil war allowed the group to grow and capitalize on the chaos. Baghdadi expanded the organization into Syria, where it metastasized.
STRINGER Iraq/Reuters A member of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant holds an ISIL flag and a weapon in the city of Mosul on June 23, 2014.
Although ISIS officially existed under al Qaeda during this period, Baghdadi’s tactics differed from those of his parent organization’s leaders. Baghdadi’s fighters targeted other Sunni militant groups and focused on violently asserting control over territory in Syria, leading to a public spat between ISIS and al Qaeda.
Baghdadi’s refusal to come to heel over Syria led al Qaeda to formally split from ISIS in early 2014. In the aftermath, ISIS quickly came to the attention of international media after it made large gains in Iraq and Syria. The group earned more publicity after releasing widely seen propaganda videos showing beheadings of prisoners, including U.S. citizens.
After its rapid advance on Mosul, ISIS declared in June 2014 that it had established its so-called “caliphate” and would be calling itself the Islamic State.
As Baghdadi helped facilitate ISIS’s rise, he also authorized and took part in its atrocities. Slavery, rape, beheadings and numerous crimes against humanity routinely took place under his command. The widespread torture and sexual slavery of Yazidi women was officially condoned in ISIS’s doctrine and advocated in its propaganda. Baghdadi personally sexually abused Yazidi girls, according to women who managed to escape from Islamic State captivity.
Under Baghdadi’s rule, ISIS and its affiliates also began carrying out a number of deadly terror attacks around the world. The group targeted civilians in bombings and shootings, and called on supporters to commit their own attacks without direct assistance.
Former NATO Commander Adm. James Stavridis: Reported death of ISIS leader a “very good day,” but “this is not the end of the Islamic State.”
As the U.S.-led coalition airstrikes against ISIS ramped up after the summer of 2014, Baghdadi disappeared from public view. After he went underground, there were frequent reports of his death or injury in airstrikes. Many senior ISIS leaders, including second-in-command Abu Muhammad al Adnani, were killed in strikes during this time as the group lost its occupied territory.
ISIS allegedly began making preparations as early as mid-2015 for Baghdadi’s eventual demise, passing leadership authority and military decisions to other commanders within the group, intelligence officials told The New York Times.
It’s still unclear who will take over for Baghdadi as leader and what tangible effect this will have on ISIS’s capabilities.
On Sunday, Adm. James Stavridis, former NATO supreme allied commander, told ABC News that while the death of Baghdadi certainly marked a “very good day,” he warned that “unfortunately, this is not the end of the Islamic State.”
“I don’t see a lot that’s going to suddenly change here,” he said.
Still, the family members of ISIS victims expressed relief that Baghdadi had been toppled at long last.
“I hope this will hinder the resurgence of terror groups and pray that captured ISIS fighters will be brought to trial and held accountable,” Diane Foley said in a statement.
NEW: Diane Foley of James W Foley Legacy Foundation: “I am grateful to our President and brave troops for finding ISIS leader Al-Bagdadi. I hope this will hinder the resurgence of terror groups and pray that captured ISIS fighters will be brought to trial” https://t.co/fSl1CmfODwpic.twitter.com/nUXzxAEOwn
SportsPulse: This may be the most energetic World Series we’ve seen in a long time. For both teams, their exuberance on and off the field has been propelled by the joy often seen in Latin baseball culture. USA TODAY
WASHINGTON — The Houston Astros looked like a homeless guy begging for loose change on a street corner when they arrived into the nation’s capital, and by the time they leave Sunday evening, may be asking Donald Trump what’s a good time to pop back into town for their celebratory White House visit.
The Astros, after losing the first two games of the World Series in Houston with talk they may be swept, suddenly evened the series with an 8-1 rout over the Washington Nationals, assuring the series is returning to Minute Park in Houston.
This whacky Series, in which the visiting team has won all four games for the first time since 1996, is now a best-of-three series with four of the finest pitchers in the game going mano a mano, and all of the mojo headed out West with the Astros.
“We’re pretty damn good,’’ Astros veteran reliever Joe Smith said. “We knew we were going to win some games here.
“We like where we’re at.
Hey, can you blame them?
They’ve got Gerrit Cole, who is 19-1 since May 22, in Game 5.
They’ve got Cy Young favorite Justin Verlander in Game 6.
Why wouldn’t you feel good?
Then again, before the Astros start ordering the champagne, the way this zany series has gone, they may want to remember that they happened to each lose Games 1 and 2 in Houston.
And the Nats will be pitching Max Scherzer in Game 5 and Stephen Strasburg in Game 6, yep, the two guys who were dominant in the first two games of the Series, and had folks believing this series could be over in a hurry.
“I didn’t think we’d sweep,’’ Smith said. “We didn’t think they’d sweep. We’re in the World Series. These are the two best teams playing against each other.
“Now, things will start to get a little interesting.’’
Then again, considering what we’ve seen this series, who can predict a thing?
How can a team beat Verlander and Cole, who will finish 1-2 in the American League Cy Young award balloting, scoring 19 runs, and then manage only two mealy hits in five innings against 24-year-old Jose Urquidy, joining Fernando Valenzuela as only the second Mexican rookie to start a World Series game?
The Nats even got a huge break when Astros manager A.J. Hinch pulled Urquidy after only 67 pitches, and nearly paid the price when the bullpen faltered, and the Nats made it 4-1 and had the tying run at the plate in the sixth inning.
Yet, Alex Bregman, put away any thoughts of a comeback dancing in the Nats’ heads to sleep. Bregman, the MVP candidate who was hitting just .129 (4-for-31) since the AL Division Series, swatted a four-seam fastball off Fernando Rodney 392 feet into the left-field seats for a grand slam. It was the first grand slam by third baseman in a World Series game since Ken Boyer of the St. Louis Cardinals in 1964.
Just like that, this series has turned upside down.
Meanwhile, the Astros are looking more formidable by the day. It’s not just Bregman shaking his slump. It’s catcher Robinson Chirinos, hitting his second home run in two nights, becoming the first catcher to hit homers in back-to-back World Series games since Ted Simmons for Milwaukee in 1982.
“They threw a big punch at the beginning of this series,’’ Hinch said. “Now, we get a little mojo back on our side, get a little bit of momentum.’’
The Nationals, meanwhile, have to find their offense in a hurry, scoring just two runs the last two nights. They were hitting .355 with runners in scoring position during their streak, and now are one-for-19 the last two games.
“Nobody,’’ said Nats third baseman Ryan Zimmerman, their longest-tenured player, “thought this was going to be easy.”
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President Donald Trump is expected to deliver a “major statement” Sunday, the White House announced Saturday night.
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President Donald Trump is expected to deliver a “major statement” Sunday, the White House announced late Saturday.
White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley said Trump will address the nation Sunday at 9 a.m. ET from 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. It wasn’t immediately clear what the president will discuss in his speech.
Citing a senior US defense official, CNN reported that the U.S. military targeted Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in a raid in northwest Syria on Saturday. According to Newsweek, Trump approved the mission nearly a week before it took place.
WASHINGTON – Every year, it seems, some little-known player unexpectedly grabs the October spotlight by turning in the performance of his life.
In Game 4 of the 2019 World Series, that player was Jose Urquidy of the Houston Astros.
The rookie right-hander – with a total of 41 major league innings under his belt – held the Washington Nationals to just two hits in five shutout innings Saturday night as the Astros evened the series with a 8-1 victory and ensured the two teams will return to Houston next week.
Dormant during the first two games of the series, the Houston offense struck early against Nationals starter Patrick Corbin, who had been brilliant (8-2, 2.40 ERA) at home during the regular season.
Four consecutive singles – by Jose Altuve, Michael Brantley, Alex Bregman and Yuli Gurriel – produced two runs and forced Corbin to throw a total of 26 pitches in the first inning.
Catcher Robinson Chirinos padded the Astros’ lead with a two-run homer off Corbin in the fourth, making him the first player in this World Series to hit multiple homers – and the first catcher to go deep in consecutive World Series games since Ted Simmons of the Milwaukee Brewers in 1982.
After the Nationals got a run back in the bottom of the sixth to cut the margin to 4-1, Alex Bregman broke the game open with a grand slam off Fernando Rodney in the top of the seventh to put the Astros on cruise control with an 8-1 lead.
Man of the moment
The Nationals seemed to have a distinct advantage in Game 4, sending $140 million free-agent signee Patrick Corbin to the mound against rookie Jose Urquidy and the Astros bullpen.
But the 24-year-old right-hander from Mexico had other ideas. Urquidy, who posted a 4.46 ERA in the minors this year, held the Nationals scoreless for the first five innings while his teammates roughed up the veteran Corbin.
“I would love for Urquidy to go five, six innings, whatever he can do. And maybe we don’t have to use as many pitchers,” Astros manager A.J. Hinch said before the game. “I don’t even know if I want to call this a bullpen game because Urquidy is a starter.”
Like a seasoned veteran, Urquidy repeatedly got ahead of the Nats hitters and turned an expected negative into a positive. He yielded just two hits and no walks in his five innings of work
He threw a total of 67 pitches, 45 of them for strikes, and left with a 4-0 lead.
In two World Series games at home, the Nationals have never held a lead. But with Urquidy out of the game in the sixth, they mounted an immediate rally against Astros reliever Josh James in a bid to cut into Houston’s 4-0 lead.
Pinch-hitter Gerardo Parra drew a leadoff walk. After Trea Turner struck out, Adam Eaton also coaxed a free pass to chase James. An infield single by Anthony Rendon off Will Harris loaded the bases and brought Juan Soto to the plate as the tying run.
Swinging at the first pitch, Soto tapped the ball toward first baseman Yuli Gurriel, who stepped on the bag himself. Although Parra scored the Nationals’ first run on the play, the big inning never materialized when Harris struck out Howie Kendrick for the third out.
Needing a mulligan
The Nationals’ woes with runners in scoring position continued for a second consecutive game.
After going 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position in Game 3, the Nats were 1-for-9 in Game 4. The only hit was Rendon’s infield single in the sixth, which didn’t score a run.
State of the Series
With a win in Game 4, the Astros not only continued the streak of the visiting team coming out on top in every game of this World Series, but also made sure they will play at least once more at home in Houston.
But first, there’s another game to play in Washington on Sunday – a rematch of Game 1 and a battle of aces: Gerrit Cole for the Astros and Max Scherzer for the Nationals.
Scherzer had the upper hand in the series opener, allowing two earned runs in five innings as the Nationals handed Cole (5 ER in 7 IP) his first loss since May.
“I still feel that I could execute better and give their hitters just a little bit different look even though they did get to see me pitch against them and what it looks like,” Scherzer said before Game 4. “No matter what, it’s always going to be a battle.”