US President Donald Trump has announced today that the chief of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has killed himself during a US raid. The group had anyways received many set backs in the past year or so. Here is everything you need to know about the terror group and its chief.
1. Who was Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi? What was the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)?
It is said that he was born in Central Iraq in 1971. He was not eligible to join the Iraqi Army due to an eye sight issue.
He went on to head the Iraqi division of the Al Qaeda.
The Islamic State was formed sometime in 1999 and was very much owing its allegiance to Al Qaeda. Al Qaeda itself was not a single terrorist organization. It has many other groups fighting under its name.
It was sometime post 2006 that the Islamic State split from the Al Qaeda and formed its own group.
In July 2014, Al Baghdadi appeared from the city of Mosul in Iraq after having captured it from the Iraqi forces and announced the formation of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. He claimed to be a descendant of Prophet Mohammad. However, there is no proof to this effect. He is neither the first chief of the organization nor did he have anything to do with its formation.
Over the years ISIS replaced Al Qaeda as the most powerful terror group in the world and organizations that had previously owed their allegiance to the latter shifted towards ISIS. One such example is that of Boko Haram of Nigeria.
ISIS lost most of its territory in Syria and Iraq after coalition forces fought a war and defeated them. The Kurdish groups played a critical role in this regard, only to be betrayed later even as Turkey invaded North Syria and slaughtered them last week.
2. How did Al Baghdadi die?
According to reports that have emerged he was present in Barisha town of Idlib province in Syria which is closer to the Turkish border. President Donald Trump announced that he was killed in a US raid.
According to the details provided by him, the US had been pursuing this matter for weeks and had killed all of Baghdadi’s confidantes.
He thanked Iraq and Russia for their support in this operation.
According to him, the US helicopter was fired at and they retaliated. They chased Baghdadi after rescuing the children from inside his place.
Trump said:” he died a coward’s death after being surrounded inside a tunnel”. He is said to have detonated a suicide vest killing himself.
The US conducted a DNA test on the sport and also brought back samples to establish his identity.
3. Will his death be a set back to the group?
As mentioned before, the group had suffered a setback as far as the Iraq-Syria region is concerned. In March, the ISIS surrendered its final territorial stronghold in the city of Baghouz in Syria. Baghdadi appeared on camera after almost 5 years and assured his supporters that everything was fine.
With Turkish actions in Syria, the ISIS is said to have become stronger. It needs to be seen what will be the outcome of this death.
However, terror groups across the world including in India continue to operate under the ISIS banner and there will be no impact there. ISIS like Al Qaeda will get another leader and will continue to operate until another mother of all terror groups emerges.
4. ISIS and India
Post 2014, many Indian youth especially from Kerala, Maharashtra, Telengana and Uttar Pradesh were caught by National Investigation Agency (NIA ) boarding flights to Turkey to join the group. Some managed to escape and join the group and continue to battle it out there. Others are said to have died in action.
Many groups in India like the Thowaheed Jamiat in Tamil Nadu pledged their allegiance to the Islamic State. This group was also responsible for the attacks in Sri Lanka earlier this year.
The Government of India has been active in combating the activities of various groups that have pledged to fight under the ISIS banner.
Many terrorist organizations in Jammu and Kashmir including the one headed by Burhan Wani and his supporters who have been eliminated currently had pledged their allegiance to the ISIS. They received support from another similar group, the only difference being the last ‘S’ being absent, the ISI (Pakistan’s notorious intelligence group, the Inter Service Intelligence group).