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SR 1448 – Trump’s Inaugural Surprise for ISIS
Good morning, I’m still reporting on Trump.
Bret Baier, anchor of Fox News’ Inauguration coverage, flashed this news at 11:13 am, just 30 minutes before Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th U.S. President.
The strike killed over 100 terror fighters, and reports yesterday in the British press, citing local reports, say that it also seriously wounded ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
However, FOXNews reports today that, according to Pentagon officials, Baghdadi has not been wounded.
Baghdadi, the West’s most-wanted man, is the self-proclaimed leader of the Muslim caliphate. He has spent the last two-and-a-half years of his bloody rule living in Mosul, Iraq. Intelligence officials say that, in fear of his life, he has fled Mosul and now keeps a very low profile, even sleeping in a suicide vest, determined to not be captured alive.
Last month, the US government raised the price on his head from $10 million to $25 million. The reward would be paid to anyone who identifies his location that leads to his capture or death.
The strike on a terror training camp in Syria near the Turkish border was conducted by a single B-52 and an undisclosed number of drones probably flying out of the Middle East nation of Qatar.
The B-52 dropped 14 satellite-guided bombs just before noon Eastern time – shortly after dark, local time.
A detachment of B-52s from Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana has been deployed in Qatar since April to be closer to ISIS targets in Iraq and Syria.
A Pentagon official said Russian bombers had previously tried to take out the training camp, but had been unsuccessful. Russian bombers primarily conduct daylight raids with unguided munitions, but U.S. Air Force and Navy jets fly primarily at night using satellite-guided munitions.
B-52s were introduced in 1955, with the last of 744 built produced in 1961. The Air Force plans on keeping them in service until 2045, 90 years after it first entered service.
The Syrian training camp hit by the B-52 strike had been operational since 2013. There was no explanation of why it had not been taken out before, especially if it was suspected of harboring the head of ISIS.
The strike followed by one day an attack on terror training camps in Libya by two U.S. B-2 Stealth bombers flying non-stop out of Missouri. The nearly-invisible, triangularly-shaped bombers were refueled in mid-air 5 times to reach their target, then return to their base in Missouri after the 30-hour, non-stop flight.
This morning, the New York Times reported that that six Tu-22M3 bombers flew from their home bases in Russia to strike ISIS positions in eastern Syria early today. Syrian government troops find themselves in an increasingly desperate situation, cut in half by an ISIS offensive.
The announcement implies some sort of coordination, if not cooperation, between the Pentagon and the Russian government.
I’m still reporting from Washington. Good day.