Months of meticulous work preceded the raid that killed Islamic state leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, but his fate was ultimately marked by a flurry of key activities for 48 hours.
US forces originally learned of the general position of al-Baghdadi after capturing and interrogating two people: a courier and one of his wives.
Second The New York Times, which happened during the summer of the northern hemisphere, already in July.
The information was surprising. He put al-Baghdadi in the northwestern Idlib province of Syria, hundreds of kilometers from the territory previously held by IS.
The terrorist leader was moving between several hiding places. Working closely with Iraqi and Kurdish intelligence sources, the CIA was able to establish its precise position last week, tracing it to a complex slightly west of the city of Barisha.
"By Thursday afternoon, the President and I were informed that there was a high probability that he was in the complex in Idlib province," Vice President Mike Pence said CBS news from today to tomorrow.
But every attempt to kill or capture al-Baghdadi has faced four enormous obstacles.
First, the area was under the control of jihadist groups linked to al-Qaeda.
Secondly, it was in Syrian and Russian airspace.
Third, the complex itself was built over a tunnel complex and would be extremely difficult to attack.
Finally, Trump's decision to withdraw US forces from northern Syria created time pressure, reportedly forcing the Pentagon to advance with a risky raid before losing the ability to coordinate spies and reconnaissance planes.
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So, after months of constant information gathering, confirmation of al-Baghdadi's position on Thursday triggered a rapid climb. Mr. Trump had military options on his desk by Friday morning, and when he received "usable" intelligence on Saturday he approved the raid.
As that plan developed rapidly behind the scenes, there was no external hint of excitement on the part of the President or his officials. Trump went to Camp David on Friday night, where he celebrated his daughter Ivanka's 10th wedding anniversary. The next morning, hours before the start of the operation, he flew to Virginia to play golf.
Then, at 4:18 pm, the president returned to the White House. At 5:00 pm, he settled in the Situation Room with Pence, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and President of Joint Chiefs Mark Milley.
A few miles from the other side of the city, at the Washington citizens' baseball stadium, the rest of the oblivion of the American capital was centered on the four World Series game.
Eight US helicopters, most of them CH-47 Chinooks, took off from Al-Asad airbase in western Iraq and began a dangerous 70-minute flight through Syrian airspace.
Arriving at the complex where al-Baghdadi was hiding, they met with gunshots and returned the fire to provide cover for US commandos and military dogs to hit the ground.
The soldiers made a hole in the side of the main building, suspecting that the entrance was trapped and chased al-Baghdadi into the network of tunnels below.
The terrorist was wearing a suicide vest. When he was finally cornered, he made him explode, killing himself and three small children he had dragged through the tunnels with him.
No American soldier was injured.
"It is in a complex, exactly, with few other men and women with him and a large number of children," Esper said told ABC News.
"Our special operators have tactics and techniques and procedures they go through to try to recall them. At the end of the day, as the President said, he decided to kill himself and brought some small children with him ".
Back in the Situation Room, Mr. Trump watched the aerial surveillance footage, which showed the heat signatures of the people moving underneath. The commandos on the ground wore bodily cameras, but that video was not transmitted in real time.
During his press conference announcing the death of al-Baghdadi, Trump said the terrorist was "whining, crying and screaming to the hilt" in his last moments, something he could not have known from the environmental video.
Esper did not back up that account, but suggested that Trump may have learned this information from someone else.
"I don't have these details. The president probably had the opportunity to talk to the commanders in the field," he said.
When the attack was terminated, US forces devoted themselves to their next task – officially confirming that they had actually killed Al-Baghdadi. They had been burned before. Previous reports of the terrorist's death had spread, just to get him back to the surface.
To get to his body, they had to dig through the debris.
"There isn't much left, but there are still substantial pieces that they brought back," said Trump.
The Americans had come prepared with al-Baghdadi DNA samples. The laboratory technicians conducted an on-site test of the body and, within 15 minutes, positively identified it as that of their main objective.
They spent another two hours exploring the ruined complex, retrieving highly sensitive material on the IS that included information on the group's future plans.
So when US forces retreated, fighter planes launched six missiles at the remains of the house, completely destroying it.
All this happened before the public heard any whisper of the operation.
Finally, late Saturday night, Trump posted a cryptic tweet saying something very big had happened. The information dam broke shortly after.
The hastily organized mission was named in honor of Kayla Mueller, an American national security adviser who was enslaved by al-Baghdadi before he died in Raqqa. His success marked the most significant terrorist death by Osama bin Laden.
For six years, al-Baghdadi had presided over the growth and ascent of the IS, followed by its gradual fall. It has inspired extremist violence around the world, including in Europe and the United States.
His final act was no less terrifying. But the life of those three children was the last he would ever have taken.
– with AP