President Donald Trump announced on Sunday that fugitive ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi had died in a raid by US special forces in northwest Syria, in a major blow to the extremist group.
Al-Baghdadi killed himself during the raid by detonating a suicide vest, Trump said in a televised address from the White House.
Here are reactions to the announcement:
The United States
Republican Senator Lindsay Graham, speaking at the White House on Sunday, said “What the president said today was very reassuring to me - that when it comes to ISIS and other terrorists groups, we’re coming after you, wherever you go, as long as it takes to protect our country and our way of life.”
US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, criticized Trump not notifying the US Congressional leadership prior to the raid. She also said in a statement “The death of al-Baghdadi is significant, but the death of this ISIS leader does not mean the death of ISIS. Scores of ISIS fighters remain under uncertain conditions in Syrian prisons, and countless others in the region and around the world remain intent on spreading their influence and committing acts of terror.”
US Senator Mitt Romney, a Republican and regular critic of Trump, said on Twitter “Al-Baghdadi spread ‘fire and brimstone’ on earth; now he feels it for himself in hell. To all who arranged his change of venue-the intel officers, the President, the warriors-thank you.”
Joe Biden, contender for the Democratic nomination to face Trump in the 2020 presidential election said “We cannot afford to get distracted or take our eye off the target. ISIS remains a threat to the American people and our allies, and we must keep up the pressure to prevent ISIS from ever regrouping or again threatening the United States.”
The Iraqi government said in a statement “Following extensive work by a dedicated team for over a year, Iraq’s National Intelligence Service was able to accurately pinpoint the hideout of the terrorist Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi in the Syrian province of Idlib.”
It added “Subsequently, US forces, in coordination with Iraq’s National Intelligence Service, carried out an operation which led to the elimination of the terrorist Al-Baghdadi.”
“Iraq’s Armed Forces and intelligence services will continue to work with Iraq’s partners in the coalition to relentlessly pursue Daesh (ISIS) terrorists and to defeat their ideology,” read the statement.
Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed al-Khalifa said in a tweet: “AL-Baghdadi’s death is a severe blow to ISIS, and we applaud the “brothers and allies” for their effort and success in finding and getting rid of him.”
Major-General Igor Konashenkov, quoted by RIA news agency as saying that “The Russian Ministry of Defense does not have reliable information on the operation by US servicemen... on yet another ‘elimination’ of former ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.”
Konstantin Kosachyov, chairman of upper house of parliament’s foreign affairs committee, tells Interfax news agency: “... Last respects have been paid to al-Baghdadi at least five times in the past. (Also) countering terrorism is a much more difficult task than the physical destruction of its leaders, even the most irreconcilable.”
French President Emmanuel Macron said the death of the ISIS leader is just a step, adding that the fight must continue to finally defeat the extremists.
“The death of al-Baghdadi is a hard blow against Daesh (ISIS) but it is just a stage,” Macron wrote on Twitter. “The fight will continue with our partners in the international coalition to ensure that the terror organization is definitively defeated. It is our priority,” he added.
While, French Defense Minister Florence Parly said on Twitter: “Baghdadi: early retirement for a terrorist, but not for his organization. I congratulate our American allies with this operation. My thoughts today are for all the victims of the madness of Bagdhadi and the criminals who have followed him.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Twitter: “The death of Baghdadi is an important moment in our fight against terror but the battle against the evil of Daesh (ISIS) is not yet over. We will work with our coalition partners to bring an end to the murderous, barbaric activities of Daesh once and for all.”
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, also said on Twitter: “Following the death of Daesh’s leader, (ISIS) we must not allow Daesh to glorify someone who actioned such inhumane & abhorrent criminal acts. The UK will continue to support efforts to #DefeatDaesh.”
Information Minister Mohammad Javad Azari-Jahromi said on Twitter: “Not a big deal, You just killed your creature”, in an accusation to the United States, its longtime foe, of creating ISIS.
Senior aide to President Tayyip Erdogan, Fahrettin Altun, in statement to Reuters said that “Turkey was proud to help the United States, our NATO ally, bring a notorious terrorist to justice ... We remember today Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s civilian victims and our military heroes, who lost their lives to protect the world from Daesh (ISIS) terrorists.”
“Turkey, which has been a bulwark against terrorism, will continue to work closely with the United States and others to combat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. It is time to join forces and defeat all terrorist groups operating in the region without further delay.”
A statement from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu office read: “I would like to congratulate President Trump on the impressive achievement that led to the assassination of the head of (ISIS) al-Baghdadi. This reflects our shared determination, of the United States of America and of all free countries, to fight terror organizations and terrorist states. This achievement is an important milestone, but the campaign is still ahead of us.”