The Beirut-based pan-Arab satellite television channel Al Mayadeen has suggested that possible successors of the late Daesh* leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi could include his two aides Abu Abdel Rahman al-Jezrawi and Abu Osman al-Farancy.
The news outlets claimed that a special operation to destroy al-Baghdadi was due to start at the beginning of this week but that it was then postponed several times after information was obtained that al-Baghdadi’s entourage included women and children.
The information comes as President Donald Trump announced on Sunday that “Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is dead” as a result of the US military’s special operation in northern Syria, adding that the Daesh leader died “like a dog” and “like a coward.”
He also confirmed that al-Baghdadi died after detonating a suicide vest as “US special forces met with gunfire” when approaching the terrorist’s compound in the area. According to the US President, three children of the Daesh leader died in the raid.
Trump thanked Russia, Turkey, Syria and Iraq as well as Kurdish forces for their help in "this very dangerous mission” conducted by US special forces.
He specifically praised Moscow for treating Washington “great” by opening Russian airspace to the raid against al-Baghdadi.
In addition, Trump pledged that the US “will continue to pursue the remaining Daesh terrorists to their brutal end after the neutralization of al-Baghdadi”.
Earlier Media Reports on the Downfall of Baghdadi
Trump's remarks come after a whole array of media outlets, including Newsweek and AP, cited unnamed sources as saying that al-Baghdadi killed himself by detonating a suicide vest in Barisha village in northwestern Syria’s Idlib province.
The Turkish news agency Anadolu reported on Sunday that seven bodies were found at the site of the Daesh leader's death, adding that eight helicopters and two drones were involved in the military operation last night.
Baghdadi appeared in the media for the first time in 2014 when he declared the formation of a caliphate in the Middle East.
*Daesh (ISIL/ISIS/Islamic State), a terrorist group banned in Russia and a spate of other countries