The body of ISIS chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was buried at sea by the US military after he killed himself during the weekend raid on his Syrian hideout, a Pentagon source told AFP on Monday.
No details were given on where or when the body was disposed of, but it paralleled the 2011 sea burial of Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden after he was killed in a US special forces raid in Pakistan.
“The disposal of his remains has been done, is complete and was handled appropriately,” said General Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Milley said the burial took place based on standard US military procedures and “in accordance with the law of armed conflict.”
In a weekend raid by US forces in Syria, Baghdadi was chased to a dead-end tunnel along with three children and he was left with no option but to blow up his suicide vest.
The feared terrorist leader died like a coward, “whimpering and crying” when cornered in a dead-end tunnel by US Special Forces in Syria, and will “never again harm an innocent man, woman or child”, said US President Donald Trump.
The ISIS chief, who is said to be 48 years old, was eliminated by the US Special Operations forces.
“He (Baghdadi) reached the end of the tunnel, as our dogs chased him down. He died in his vest, killing himself. And the three children. His body was mutilated by the blast. The tunnel had caved in on it, in addition,” Trump said in a televised address to the nation.
The US President asserted that Baghdadi’s killing demonstrates “America’s relentless pursuit of terrorist leaders and US’ commitment to the enduring and total defeat of ISIS and other terrorist organisations”.
Baghdadi joined Al-Qaeda in Iraq, which merged with other Islamist groups to form the Islamic State of Iraq. He became the group’s leader in 2010 after his predecessor was killed by US forces.
He renamed the group to the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant, widely known as ISIL or ISIS in 2013 and announced his “caliphate” in 2014.
(With agency inputs)