Published On: Mon, Oct 28th, 2019

ISIS ‘to target Christmas markets in revenge for Baghdadi death’ – ex-NATO chief warns | World | News

Retired admiral James Stavridis has warned “the Islamic State is coming back” and fears the terror organisation will launch attacks on Christmas Markets over the festive period. He told America’s TV news programme Today he is “very concerned” ISIS will increase attacks on the West following the death of its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. The leader of the terrorist organisation killed himself by deploying his suicide vest as US Special forces raided his hideaway in Idlib, northwest Syria.

Mr Stavridis said he expects Christmas markets “to be a rich target of revenge” for his death.

The former US Navy Supreme Allied Commander at NATO said: “ISIS is not a single individual, unfortunately.

“If it were, this would be over. It’s not. Just like winter is coming, the Islamic state is coming back.”

He added: “Unfortunately, I would predict just as we accelerated an operation that was in the pipeline to take Baghdadi, they will accelerate operations they have in the pipeline, particularly targeting Europe, I would guess.”

US President Donald Trump announced on Sunday that US forces had hit the hiding place of the ISIS leader.

Speaking from the White House, Mr Trump revealed al-Baghdadi died “whimpering and screaming”.

The ISIS leader was chased by dogs after US forces entered his Syrian compound and al-Baghdadi detonated his vest after running into a dead-end tunnel.

Eleven children were injured in the blast.

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Mr Stavridis appeared to agree with this position, as he said the Kurds, who were “absolutely central” to the military operation resulting in al-Baghdadi’s death, were unlikely to cooperate with the US in this way again.

He said: “Unfortunately our Kurdish allies who have been with us every step of the way are feeling bruised and rejected because of our departure and the President’s comments that were done with this region of the world.

“As a result, it is unlikely in my view that we’re going to see the level of cooperation that enabled this Baghdadi raid to occur again.”

The former NATO chief added: “That is why we ought to celebrate the death of Baghdadi, ISIS will come back in some form, but the big strategic picture here is we need to work with our allies, partners and friends in the region if we’re going to continue to construct a coherent strategy to go after the islamic state. Good to have you perspective.”

Following President Trump’s televised announcement, the UK’s Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said al-Baghdadi would not be missed.

He said: “ISIS is one of the most murderous terrorist organisations of our generation.

“Their leaders have twisted Islam to groom thousands of people into joining their evil cause. I welcome the action that has been taken.

“The world will not miss al-Baghdadi.”

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