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Trump says likely Baghdadi successor killed by U.S. troops

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump said on Tuesday the U.S. military had killed the person who likely would have succeeded Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as the leader of Islamic State.

“Just confirmed that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s number one replacement has been terminated by American troops,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “Most likely would have taken the top spot.”

Trump did not specify who he was referring to, but the United States on Monday confirmed the killing of Abu al-Hassan al-Muhajir, Islamic State spokesman and a high-ranking figure within the jihadi group.

Trump on Sunday announced the killing of Baghdadi by U.S. special operations forces in northwestern Syria.

A senior State Department official said on Monday that al-Muhajir was killed in a separate operation. The Syrian Kurdish YPG militia said on Sunday that al-Muhajir was killed in a joint raid between Kurdish-led and U.S. forces in northern Syria.

(Reporting by Tim Ahmann; Editing by Alison Williams and Jonathan Oatis)

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