U.S. Central Command Releases Videos of Raid to Capture ISIS Leader in Syria.

The short 10-second video clip shows little detail and appears to be purposely downgraded in quality. It shows what appears to be 10 personnel moving toward the target building. There are what appear to be communications antennae and either an electrical generator or small air conditioning unit on the roof of the compound building. (Photo: via Twitter/U.S. Central Command)

Videos Show Operatives Moving Toward Objective, Preparing to Breach Wall And JASSM Used to Level Baghdadi’s Compound.

The U.S. Central Command has released footage showing the beginning of the raid to apprehend Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader and founder of the Islamic State (ISIS), on Saturday in Syria.

The first video clip shows a strafing attack, possibly by a 7.62mm M-134 minigun from an MH-47G special operations helicopter said to be used in the assault. The strafing hits a series of personnel targets identified as insurgents who were firing on the approaching aircraft at the beginning of the raid.

The second video clip appears to show ten persons said to be members of the U.S. Army’s secretive Special Forces Operational Detachment-D (SFOD-D) or, “Delta” as it is commonly referred to in the media. The team approaches the building while moving slowly, as if to maintain audible stealth before breaching the outer wall of the target compound.

The second video clip is only ten seconds long, and is accompanied by this quote: “…at the compound, fighters from two locations in the vicinity of the compound began firing on U.S. aircraft participating in the assault.” – Gen Frank McKenzie CDR USCENTCOM.

The Tweets went on to include the remark from Gen. Frank McKenzie that, “I want to make it clear that despite the high-pressure and high-profile nature of this assault that every effort was made to avoid civilian casualties and to protect children we suspected would be in the compound.”

Somewhat interestingly, no military dogs are visible in this short clip. This may suggest that the dogs used in the raid, including the dog made famous during remarks by President Donald Trump, were brought into the target area sometime after the initial entry was made.

Interestingly, CENTCOM also released drone footage of the AGM-158 Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile that destroyed the compound.

The compound seen in the video, assumed to be that of the target, ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, is surrounded by a solid wall between 8’ to 9’ tall based on comparison to the height of the personnel seen in the video. The video does not show the group passing through the wall, although one of the personnel seems to be advancing toward the wall more quickly than the others, possibly to place a “breaching charge” against the wall to use explosives to blow a hole in it for entry by the rest of the team.

No mention is made of the camera platform used to take the video, although it is common for some type of remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) to maintain video surveillance of special operations raids.

Baghdadi’s death was communicated by the special operations forces when they declared “jackpot” at 7:15 p.m. ET in the U.S.

About Tom Demerly
Tom Demerly is a feature writer, journalist, photographer and editorialist who has written articles that are published around the world on TheAviationist.com, TACAIRNET.com, Outside magazine, Business Insider, We Are The Mighty, The Dearborn Press & Guide, National Interest, Russia’s government media outlet Sputnik, and many other publications. Demerly studied journalism at Henry Ford College in Dearborn, Michigan. Tom Demerly served in an intelligence gathering unit as a member of the U.S. Army and Michigan National Guard. His military experience includes being Honor Graduate from the U.S. Army Infantry School at Ft. Benning, Georgia (Cycle C-6-1) and as a Scout Observer in a reconnaissance unit, Company “F”, 425th INF (RANGER/AIRBORNE), Long Range Surveillance Unit (LRSU). Demerly is an experienced parachutist, holds advanced SCUBA certifications, has climbed the highest mountains on three continents and visited all seven continents and has flown several types of light aircraft.