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Trump Blames New York Times for Ruining Plans to Kill IS Leader

  • VOA News

FILE - This image taken from a militant website July 5, 2014, purports to show the leader of the Islamic State group, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

U.S. President Donald Trump criticized The New York Times on Saturday on Twitter for allegedly ruining a U.S. attempt to assassinate Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

The president did not provide details or explain how the Times supposedly ruined plans to kill Baghdadi, but his tweet was posted minutes after a Fox News Channel segment about information leaks was broadcast.

A Times spokesman, meanwhile, has asked the White House for details about Trump's tweet, according to a Times statement provided to Politico.

"We have asked the White House to clarify the tweet," the statement said.

Although the report Trump referred to has not been identified, the Times reported Friday that Defense Secretary James Mattis told journalists that Baghdadi was still alive.

"I'll believe otherwise when we know we have killed him. We are going after him," said Mattis, whose on-the-record remarks were also reported by many other media organizations.

The U.S. has placed a $25 million bounty on Baghdadi, who has not been seen publicly since 2014 in Mosul. It is rumored, though, that Baghdadi travels throughout IS-held areas in Iraq and Syria.

Trump has frequently criticized the Times, even though he occasionally reaches out to the newspaper — including earlier this week when he conducted a wide-ranging interview with several Times reporters. His legal team threatened to sue the newspaper in 2016 for its coverage of sexual harassment accusations against him made by several women. No such lawsuit has been filed.

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