SCITUATE, R.I. (WPRI) — President Donald Trump held a press conference at the White House early Sunday morning, saying that the United States brought the world’s number one terrorist leader to justice.
“Last night was a great night for the United States and the world – Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is dead,” he announced.
“I agree, it’s a major accomplishment, but it’s a psychological one,” Eyewitness News Analyst Lt. Gen. Reginald Centracchio (ret) said. “It sends out a message across the world, to all terrorist organizations that we will not tolerate terrorism. At some point, we will find you and terminate you.”
The president called it a high-risk operation. The culmination of several weeks of surveillance and more than one canceled effort, before the raid was finally carried out Saturday by more than fifty soldiers on the ground and dozens more supporting in the air.
Centracchio said he is proud of the president and our armed forces.
“They make sure they do their individual jobs, they protect each other and that’s exactly what happened here. When you look at how you go about planning for this, you have to have intelligence on the ground and that’s what happened here,” Centracchio said.
The president described the raid as “impeccable”, but insists it’s only because of the help the U.S. received.
“I wanna thank the nations of Russia, Turkey, Syria and Iraq and I also want to thank the Syrian Kurds for certain support they were able to give us,” President Trump said.
“When you have a common enemy you become friends real quick,” Centracchio added.
He also cautions against basking in the victory too long.
“Because you take out the head doesn’t mean the operation stops, it will continue and we need to be aware of that, and this president is aware of that.”
Centracchio says the administration needs to be aware of is other terrorist groups who might become embolden by Saturday’s take down of the ISIS leader.
Members of the Rhode Island delegation are also reacting to the news of the death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
Senator Jack Reed, the Ranking Member of the Armed Services Committee, issued the following statement:
The death of al-Baghdadi is a significant blow to ISIS and a victory for the brave service members that carried out the operation, all those that enabled it, and the international coalition to defeat ISIS. However, we must not mistake al-Baghdadi’s death for the defeat of ISIS. The resurgence of ISIS remains a major threat particularly in light of the President’s unstable non-policy in Syria. Subcontracting out our Middle East policy to Russia and Iran is no substitute for American leadership. We must redouble our efforts with our international partners to secure and stabilize areas formerly under ISIS control.
Congressman Jim Langevin, a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee, released the following statement:
We owe immense gratitude to the intelligence community and our highly trained special operations forces for their courage and professionalism carrying out an extremely dangerous mission. I congratulate our forces for successfully bringing down Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS and the world’s most dangerous terrorist, and I thank them for their ongoing efforts to keep the American people safe.