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EXISTING GRAPHICS MAY BE OVERWRITTEN BY CLIENT'S OWN GRAPHICS BUT NO FURTHER EDITS ARE PERMITTED, INCLUDING FOR LENGTH** The U.S. Department of Defense Wednesday released stunning new video and images of the raid in Syria that lead to the death of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) GEN.
KENNETH MCKENZIE, COMMANDER OF UNITED STATES CENTRAL COMMAND, SAYING: "We assessed that he was hiding in Idlib province to avoid the intense pressure that had been put on ISIS in other places in Syria." Commander of US Central Command, General Frank McKenzie, gave a minute by minute account of the assault, showing newly declassified images of U.S. forces taking small arms fire from multiple locations, as their helicopters closed in on Baghdadi's compound.
Drone footage showed the special forces team approaching the compound, and aerial strikes carried out by F-15 fighter planes and MQ-9 Reaper Drones that leveled the site once it was cleared.
For the first time, the Pentagon also provided details on the DNA confirmation of Baghdadi's death.
Samples from his remains where matched with those taken when he was held prisoner at Camp Baccu in Iraq in 2004.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, SAYING: "He died after running into a dead end tunnel, whimpering and crying and screaming all the way." But once again, Pentagon officials failed to confirm president Trump's provocative claim about the final minutes before Baghdadi's death.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) GEN.
KENNETH MCKENZIE, COMMANDER OF UNITED STATES CENTRAL COMMAND, SAYING: "Now, about Baghdadi's last moments - I can tell you this.
He crawled into a hole with two small children and blew himself up while his people stayed on the ground.
I'm not able to confirm anything else about his last seconds.
I just can't confirm that one way or another." The death of Baghdadi marked the end of a years-long hunt to capture or kill the U.S.'s main target in the fight against ISIS.
Baghdadi had been at the top of America's anti-terrorism list since he declared a so-called Islamic caliphate in Iraq and Syria in 2014.
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