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Trump may release video footage of ISIS leader Baghdadi raid

President Donald J. Trump is joined by Vice President Mike Pence, National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien, left; Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff U.S. Army General Mark A. Milley, right, Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019, in the Situation Room of the White House monitoring developments as U.S. Special Operations forces close in on notorious ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s compound in Syria with a mission to kill or capture the terrorist. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)
October 28, 2019

President Donald Trump said he is considering authorizing the release of footage from the U.S. Army raid that killed ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

“We’re thinking about it. We may,” Trump said before he departed Joint Base Andrews on Monday.

“The question was, am I considering releasing video footage of the raid. And we may take certain parts of it and release it, yes,” he added.

Trump told reporters on Sunday that he watched footage of the raid, along with other key members of his administration.

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“I got to watch it, along with General Milley, Vice President Pence, others, in the Situation Room.  And we watched it so clearly,” he said on Sunday.

“I don’t want to say how, but we had absolutely perfect — as though you were watching a movie.  It was — that — the technology there alone is really great,” he added.

However, some officials have reportedly disputed the president’s account.

Military and intelligence officials anonymously told The New York Times that the president did not have footage of soldiers in the tunnel facing down Baghdadi. Instead, they say he had several views of Baghdadi’s compound and the surrounding area provided by drones and other sources, including videos with heat signatures.

That unit responsible for the raid was the U.S. Army’s Delta Force, the elite special units dedicated to counterterrorism and the capture of top terror leaders, Reuters reported. The mission to kill Baghdadi was launched from an airbase located in western Iraq.

Delta Force soldiers and dogs chased Baghdadi down a tunnel and cornered him at a dead-end, prompting him to detonate a suicide vest that instantly killed him and his three children he attempted to use as human shields.

One of the military dogs was injured slightly by the blast, but has since recovered and returned to duty.

U.S. forces later conducted a DNA test to confirm Baghdadi’s identity, which Joint Chiefs Chairman Mark Milley later confirmed was positive for Baghdadi.

Baghdadi rose to prominence in 2014 when he announced the start of the ISIS caliphate from the Great Mosque in Mosul, Iraq.