Washington Post changes al-Baghdadi headline that called terror leader an 'austere religious scholar'

Dylan Stableford
Senior Writer

The Washington Post on Sunday changed the headline of its obituary for Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the ISIS terror leader who was killed in a U.S. raid in Syria over the weekend, after receiving widespread backlash for referring to him as an “austere religious scholar.”

The original headline, posted online after President Trump announced al-Baghdadi’s killing, read: “Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, Islamic State’s ‘terrorist-in-chief,’ dies at 48.” It was later changed to “Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, austere religious scholar at helm of Islamic State, dies at 48.”

It now reads: “Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, extremist leader of Islamic State, dies at 48.”

Yahoo News photo illustration; photos: AP, Getty Images/Twitter

“Post correspondents have spent years in Iraq and Syria documenting ISIS savagery, often at great personal risk,” Kristine Coratti Kelly, a spokeswoman for the Post, said in a statement. “Unfortunately, a headline written in haste to portray the origins of al-Baghdadi and ISIS didn’t communicate that brutality. The headline was promptly changed.”

But not before critics, including the president’s children, pounced.

President Trump announced the killing of al-Baghdadi in a televised address on Sunday morning.

“Last night the United States brought the world’s No. 1 terrorist leader to justice,” Trump said. “Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is dead.”

According to Trump, al-Baghdadi and a “large number” of his fighters were killed on Saturday night in Idlib province, Syria, after a raid by U.S. Special Operations forces.

Trump offered a dramatic narration of the raid, which he said he was able to watch and took “approximately two hours.” He gave a graphic account of the terrorist being chased down a tunnel by American troops “whimpering and crying and screaming all the way.”

“He reached the end of the tunnel as our dogs chased him down,” Trump said of al-Baghdadi. “He ignited the vest, killing himself and three of his children.”

The president mocked al-Baghdadi’s ISIS fighters as “losers” and said al-Baghdadi died in a state of “utter fear, total panic and dread.” He didn’t indicate how he knew what al-Baghdadi was thinking.

“He died like a dog,” Trump said. “He died like a coward. The world is now a much safer place. God bless America.”

_____

Download the Yahoo News app to customize your experience.

Read more coverage from Yahoo News: