Kurdish forces say they tracked down Islamic State terror head Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, before he was killed by U.S. troops last weekend, with intelligence from an informant who stole a pair of the leader’s underwear.
U.S. President Donald Trump announced Sunday U.S. commandos killed al-Baghdadi as he was hiding in northwestern Syria. The terrorist leader set off a suicide vest as troops closed in.
Polat Can, a senior consultant with the Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces, said the group’s intelligence work confirmed al-Baghdadi’s identity before the U.S.-led raid. The informant, took a pair of al-Baghdadi’s civvies, Can said.
“Our own source, who had been able to reach al-Baghdadi, brought al-Baghdadi’s underwear to conduct a DNA test and make sure (100 percent) that the person in question was al-Baghdadi himself,” he tweeted Monday.
“All intelligence and access to al-Baghdadi as well as the identification of his place, were the result of our own work. Our intelligence source was involved in sending coordinates, directing the airdrop, participating in and making the operation a success until the last minute.”
Can said a decision to go after al-Baghdadi was made more than a month ago, but Turkey’s Oct. 9 incursion caused the SDF to end the investigation.
U.S. Democrats have criticized Trump for not informing Congress about the raid, decrying the fact he told Russian officials before U.S. lawmakers. Trump said he kept the operation secret to avert a leak to the press.
Relatives of Kurdish fighters have celebrated al-Baghdadi’s death.
“I, as the son of a martyr, am very pleased,” said Omer Surchi, whose father was beheaded by the Islamic State in Mosul, Iraq, five years ago.
“We are so happy it almost feels like our father is still with us.”