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Secretary of Defense Esper on al-Baghdadi's Death: This Is a Great Day For The World

AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

Secretary of Defense Mark Esper appeared on ABC's "This Week" on Sunday to discuss the military mission that led to the death of the Islamic State's leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. 


"I know you were in the Situation Room. One of the things President Trump said earlier today was that you were all watching this live: you, the president, Chairman [of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark] Milley. Tell me what you saw and go through this operation," host Martha Raddatz said.

"Sure. That's right, Martha. Let me first say, as the president said earlier, this is a great day for America. It's a great day for the world," Esper explained. "The president made a bold decision to launch this raid and our military service members and our inter-agency partners executed brilliantly. We are – earlier in the year – we defeated the Caliphate, destroyed the physical Caliphate and now its leader is dead, so it's a great day."

President Donald Trump addressed the nation early Sunday morning to provide details about the mission. According to Trump, al-Baghdadi ran into a tunnel, along with his three kids. When U.S. forces cornered him, he detonated his suicide bomb, killing himself and his three kids. His two wives also had suicide bombs on but were killed before they were detonated. Members of the military had to exercise caution when dealing with the wives' bodies to keep the vests from detonating. 


According to Trump, "Baghdadi was vicious and violent and he died in a vicious and violent way, as a coward, running and crying."

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