The US-led coalition believes ISIS head Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is still alive and it is actively hunting him. Army Col. Steve Warren, spokesman for Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve, initially said “we know he’s [al-Baghdadi] alive,” during a Pentagon briefing Friday, but then hedged and said the coalition believes al-Baghdadi is still alive and moves between Syria and Iraq. “We are going to find Baghdadi, and he will taste justice,” Warren said. “I don’t know if that justice will look like a Hellfire missile or if it will look like a dark prison cell somewhere, but he will find justice one day.” Warren said al-Baghdadi “should not sleep well ever” because his own conscience should keep him awake and because “eventually someone is either going to come in the window and snatch him up or the entire house that he’s in will get reduced to rubble.” The coalition has already found other ISIS leaders. US Special Forces killed ISIS’ No. 2 leader who served as the group’s finance minister, Abd al-Rahman Mustafa al-Qaduli, the Pentagon announced last Friday. A March 4 US airstrike in Syria killed Abu Umar al-Shishani, who held multiple top military positions within the terrorist organization, including minister of war, according to a March 8 Pentagon release. (Watch the briefing.)
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.