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‘It would embarrass the group’: Foreign affairs expert calls for footage of ISIS leader’s death to be released

A prominent foreign affairs expert has called for footage of the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi to be released.

US forces were closing in on Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi during a raid in Syria, when he detonated a suicide vest, killing himself and three of his children.

US President Donald Trump said Baghdadi “died after running into a dead-end tunnel, whimpering, crying and screaming”.

Dr Wright-Neville called for footage of Al-Baghdadi’s death to be made public.

“It’s interesting that Donald Trump says he watched it unfold on video, so there must be video of it,” he told 3AW’s Neil Mitchell.

“If Baghdadi did run down a tunnel whimpering and so on, as Trump said, why not release the video?

“Visual images of that would certainly damage his brand.”

“This sort of footage, if it exists, would embarrass him, it would embarrass the group, and it would undermine that image that it had of these brave warriors who cannot be defeated.”

Dr Wright-Neville said Al-Baghdadi’s death will destabilise, but not destroy, the terrorist group.

“It’s a significant blow to ISIS,” he said.

“He was a powerful, charismatic figure.

“His passing will throw ISIS into a bit of short term chaos, particularly because all of his second-in-command have been systematically eliminated.”

But the death is unlikely to mean the end for ISIS.

“There will be a power vacuum,” Dr Wright-Neville said.

“However, in the longer term I think it will consolidate.

“It will have a new leader, it perhaps will metamorphose into something slightly different, but the permissive elements on the ground that give the group its energy; the anger and the frustration, and the lust for revenge that inspired the group, these things remain in place.”

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Trump reveals ISIL leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi killed after US raids

Image: Anadolu Agency