Syrian farmer says his arm was blown off and two friends were killed in Baghdadi raid

A Syrian farmer claims US troops killed two friends and blew his arm off during the attack which killed Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi earlier this year. 

Barakat Ahmad Barakat, 30, said he was being driven home by cousins Khaled Mustafa Qurmo, 27, and Khaled Abdel Majid Qurmo, 30, late on October 26 when helicopters opened fire – leaving him handicapped and killing the others.

Barakat’s account of the attack contradicts US claims at the time that troops had ‘protected all of the non-combatants’ present during the raid. 

Khaled Abdel Majid Qurmo

Barakat Ahmad Barakat, 30, says cousins Khaled Mustafa Qurmo, 27 (left), and Khaled Abdel Majid Qurmo, 30 (right), were killed by US forces during their attack on Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and that his arm was also blown off in the process

Barakat claims the trio were riding in this van when they were shot at by US forces without warning, while American officials said they believe the occupants of the van fired first

Barakat claims the trio were riding in this van when they were shot at by US forces without warning, while American officials said they believe the occupants of the van fired first

Speaking to NPR, Barakat said: ‘Am I Baghdadi? How is this my fault? I’m just a civilian. I didn’t have any weapons.

‘We’re farmers. I make less than a dollar a day. Now I’m handicapped, and my two friends are in their graves.’

A US defense official said this is the first account of civilian casualties received, and will be reviewed to see if further investigation is necessary.

Speaking anonymously, the official said it was their understanding that the white vehicle shot by helicopters that Barakat describes had opened fire first.

But Barakat flatly denies this, saying he had no weapons and is not affiliated with any terror group.

In his account, the trio were driving home when their van was hit by a missile, spraying his cousins with shrapnel.

He said one tried to flee but fell down, while he cradled the other in his lap as he died. He said a second missile strike decapitated the man he was comforting, removing his hand in the process.

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi killed himself during the raid by US special forces (troops pictured approaching the compound, bottom) on October 26

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi killed himself during the raid by US special forces (troops pictured approaching the compound, bottom) on October 26

Special forces soldiers blasted their way into the building before shooting dead six ISIS members, then leveled it with missiles after leaving to ensure it didn't become a shrine

Special forces soldiers blasted their way into the building before shooting dead six ISIS members, then leveled it with missiles after leaving to ensure it didn’t become a shrine

US officials previously said that helicopters blew up a number of fighters outside the compound after they fired at the attack helicopters on approach.  

Video showed the ground combatants scattering as the return fire lit up the ground around them.

More black-and-white footage of U.S. troops approaching on foot the high-walled compound in northwestern Syria where Baghdadi was holed up.

The troops approached Baghdadi’s compound from two different directions.

The special operators used tactical munitions to blow holes in the walls of the compound and enter it along with K-9 military dog units.

McKenzie said that as non-combatants fled the compound, they were detained and checked for explosives and weapons before being released after the raid.

Eleven children were escorted from the site unharmed.

A Syrian man inspects the site where Baghdadi's compound stood before it was destroyed by a US raid in October

A Syrian man inspects the site where Baghdadi’s compound stood before it was destroyed by a US raid in October

America had previously boasted that it protected all civilians in the compound, including 11 children who they suspected would be there

America had previously boasted that it protected all civilians in the compound, including 11 children who they suspected would be there

A twisted lump of concrete and steel bars is all that remains of Baghdadi's compound

A twisted lump of concrete and steel bars is all that remains of Baghdadi’s compound

‘The group was treated humanely at all times and included 11 children,’ McKenzie said.

‘Despite the violent nature of the raid and the high profile nature of this assault, every effort was made to prevent civilian casualties, and to protect the children we suspected would be at the compound.’

Six ISIS members inside the compound attempted to fight back as the U.S. forces breached the building.

The four women and two men were all killed by U.S. forces. McKenzie said the women were wearing suicide vests and acted in a ‘threatening manner’.

As the Delta Force operators closed in, Baghdadi retreated into a dead-end tunnel in the compound using two of his own children as human shields.

‘He crawled into a hole with two small children and blew himself up while his people stayed on the grounds,’ commander General Kenneth ‘Frank’ McKenzie said when asked about Baghdadi’s final moments.

DMGT bolstered by MailOnline growth and strong newspaper market share

DMGT bolstered by growth of MailOnline while Mail newspapers increase their strong market share

  • MailOnline sees revenue grow 14% to £140million
  • DMGT says Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday market share at 25.5% and 22.8% 
  • Group profits were 21% lower at £145m due to changes in business portfolio
  • On an underlying basis, excluding disposals, profits were up 19%

DMGT shares rose 5 per cent today as it revealed a jump in revenue at MailOnline, while the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday newspapers grew their market share.

Reporting full-year results, Daily Mail and General Trust, the owner of MailOnline, This is Money and the Mail and Metro newspapers, said that adjusted operating profits in its consumer media division grew by 4 per cent to £67million.

DMGT’s overall pre-tax profits were 21 per cent lower at £145million for the year to September 30, largely due to changes in its portfolio of businesses. 

On an underlying basis, which excludes these effects, profits rose 19 per cent.

DMGT said that the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday papers had large and growing market share

Releasing the results, DMGT said: ‘The Mail brand remains strong, reflected in the large and growing market shares held by the Daily Mail and The Mail on Sunday of 25.5 per cent and 22.8 per cent, respectively. 

‘MailOnline continues to focus successfully on attracting traffic directly to its homepage and apps. 

‘Metro also delivered a strong performance, following the integration of the advertising operations of the Metro and Mail in April 2018, with underlying revenue growth of 11 per cent in the year.’  

Overall DMGT group revenues were down 1 per cent at £1.4billion for the year.

Within the consumer media division, which includes MailOnline, the Mail newspapers and Metro, revenues rose by 3 per cent to £672million.

A 4 per cent fall in Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday newspaper revenue to £406million was more than offset by the growth of MailOnline, which saw revenues climb 14 per cent to £140million.

The US DailyMailTV business recorded £13million in revenue, while free daily newspaper Metro saw an 11 per cent increase in revenue to £79million. 

Revenues at MailOnline jumped 14% to £140million, DMGT revealed in its results today

Revenues at MailOnline jumped 14% to £140million, DMGT revealed in its results today

Shares in DMGT closed up 5.5 per cent at 842p today.  

The company has recently reaffirmed its commitment to print news with the acquisition of the i newspaper for almost £50million.

Chief executive Paul Zwillenberg said that highlighted the firm’s strategy to invest in ‘high quality, content-led businesses’.

He said: ‘DMGT has delivered a robust financial performance, achieving 2 per cent underlying revenue growth and 10 per cent underlying cash operating income growth. 

‘Consumer media outperformed the market and there was a mixed performance across our B2B businesses, consistent with our expectations.’

DMGT reported a fall in business-to-business revenues, which fell 4 per cent to £738million after disposals in the property information and energy information sectors.

Mr Zwillenberg added: ‘We have continued to deliver successfully against our three strategic priorities of increasing portfolio focus, improving operational execution and maintaining financial flexibility.

‘We will continue with our active portfolio management approach, focusing on those assets that have the potential to drive good returns through strong cash flow generation and growth in capital value.

‘We are now in the next phase of the group’s transformation, optimising our business through targeted and disciplined investment whilst maintaining significant financial flexibility to enhance shareholder value.’ 

 

German rapper has half his skull removed after explosion at his homemade drug lab  

German rapper has half his skull removed after explosion at his homemade drug lab

  • Niko Brenner, 35, known as Dr Knarf, was blasted into a Cologne street in 2017 
  • Bottles of propane gas in his homemade drug lab caught fire and exploded  
  • A large portion of his skull was surgically removed after his brain swelled up

A huge portion of a German rapper’s skull had to be surgically removed after his homemade drug laboratory exploded.  

Rapper Dr Knarf, whose real name is Niko Brenner, was thrown from his Cologne recording studio in February 2017 after bottles containing highly flammable propane gas exploded. 

Knarf was using the gas in a DIY drug laboratory to create a highly concentrated form of cannabis extract.

Niko Brennan, whose rapper name is Dr Knarf, is pictured here after surgery to remove a portion of his skull. The bone restricted his swelling brain after bottles of propane in his home drug lab exploded and threw him into the street in Cologne 

His chances of survival were low but he kept himself alive, despite the horrific injuries he’d sustained.

After the explosion, Brenner was taken to a specialist burns unit due to 40 per cent of his skin being scorched. 

‘That (the skin burns) was nothing compared with what came after. I lay for three months in a coma during which I suffered four strokes,’ the rapper said. 

‘My brain has grown so much that some of the bone had to be removed.’

Three years ago the Cologne Express reported after the incident that Brenner was ‘panicked, burning and without hands’ running across the street. 

Brennan is pictured  here before the explosion in Cologne three years ago. The rapper said that he was taken to a specialist burns unit as over 40 per cent of his skin was scorched in the blast

Brennan is pictured  here before the explosion in Cologne three years ago. The rapper said that he was taken to a specialist burns unit as over 40 per cent of his skin was scorched in the blast 

The rapper admits that he made mistakes before the explosion.  

Due to ongoing criminal procedures, he did not want to comment further.

Despite having a large portion of his skull missing and being paralysed on one side of his body, the now 35-year-old remains positive.

He is learning to walk again and will release a new album entitled ‘Prometheus’ in 2020.

 

Father-of-three shares an emotional post about about him and his ex-wife’s husband being friends

A father-of-three has bravely shared a heartwarming post about becoming friends with his ex-wife’s new husband after five years of ‘contention and resentment’ towards him.

Divorcee Sean Whalen, 40, from Salt Lake City, Utah, claimed he and his former spouse Summer Williams’ new husband Justin Williams spent years fighting each other because he ‘hated the guy’.

However Sean says it was the ‘highlight of his day’ when Justin walked in, gave him a big hug and said ‘Happy thanksgiving, man’ as they celebrated as a whole family.

In a bid to prove their newfound friendship, Sean posted a heartwarming photo of him and Justin preparing dinner together and urged fellow divorcees to love and forgive their exes for the ‘peace and freedom you will find’.  

Divorcee Sean Whalen (left), 40, from Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S., shared a picture of himself and his ex-wife’s new husband (right) preparing dinner together

The father-of-three (pictured with his three children and Justin's two children) said he was close to an altercation with his ex wife Summer's (second from left)  partner following their divorce in 2012

The father-of-three (pictured with his three children and Justin’s two children) said he was close to an altercation with his ex wife Summer’s (second from left)  partner following their divorce in 2012 

Summer, 40, met Justin soon after divorcing tech entrepreneur Sean in 2012 – and Sean admitted that he came ‘really close’ to a physical altercation with her new partner on more than one occasion. 

However he now claims that the two men are in a ‘good place’ and said he regularly goes over to their house, where they chat about their shared interest in business. 

Sean said their relationship used to be ‘really negative’, adding: ‘We never got into a physical altercation but there were a couple of times it came really close.

‘I hated this guy. I hated that he was around my kids. I hated that he hugged them and tucked them in at night.

However Sean (with Justin, left, and ex-wife Summer, center) is now urging fellow divorcees to love and forgive their exes for the 'peace and freedom you will find'

However Sean (with Justin, left, and ex-wife Summer, center) is now urging fellow divorcees to love and forgive their exes for the ‘peace and freedom you will find’ 

‘It wasn’t too long ago he and I stood in the front yard of my ex wife’s house damn near throwing down, with cops en route.

‘There was just a lot of petty stuff – a lot of jawing and text messages back and forth and just really petty things that were really insignificant.

‘There was a lot of contention and resentment between he and I, so it didn’t start off well. It’s taken a number of years to get to where we are now.

‘He caught the brunt of my anger and frustration and [Summer’s] hurt and so naturally he wanted to be the hero to her and make sure she was okay and so naturally the enemy, if you will, was me.

Sean (pictured with his 16-year-old daughter)] said he initially 'hated' his partner's new husband and did not like him  being around his children

Sean (pictured with his 16-year-old daughter)] said he initially ‘hated’ his partner’s new husband and did not like him  being around his children

The father-of-three went on to say that he hated that Justin was around his children, hugged them them and tucked them in at night

The father-of-three went on to say that he hated that Justin was around his children, hugged them them and tucked them in at night

‘I’m now friends with Justin. It’s really good, we’re in a really good spot. That hug was the highlight of my day.

‘I go over to their house all the time. We talk and he’s an entrepreneur and owns a business and I’m an entrepreneur and own businesses.

‘We don’t hang out, we don’t really go out. We have different likes and interests. I’m big into off-road racing and race cars and he’s more of a video game guy.

‘The commonality is family and being together. We definitely chat about business and things like that but I’d definitely say he’s a friend.

‘It’s constantly growing and evolving but it was really negative for the first year and a half or so. It’s been two or three years that we’ve all been in a really good space.’

The father-of-three (pictured with 13-year-old son) found it difficult when Justin entered his children's lives

Sean (with ten-year-old son) said that during the dark period he even contemplated taking his own life

Sean (pictured with 13-year-old son left and ten-year-old son right) said he knew he had to find a way out of his anger

Sean and Summer decided to part ways in 2012 after his business fell on hard times when the real estate market crashed in 2008, putting a strain on their relationship.

Sean, who owns a coaching and consulting company, said at a low point he even contemplated taking his own life but woke up the next day knowing he had to find a way out of his anger and resentment.

Sean said: ‘It got so bad that we spent six months picking up and dropping off our kids [without really speaking].

‘It led me to a point where I became suicidal and didn’t really see value in life any more.

Sean (with his 16-year-old daughter) said he was now in a 'good place' with his former partner's new husband

Sean (with his 16-year-old daughter) said he was now in a ‘good place’ with his former partner’s new husband

Sean said he began to question what kind of man his was if he hated the mother to his children

Sean said he began to question what kind of man his was if he hated the mother to his children 

‘One night I contemplated taking my life and woke up the next day and said ‘I can’t do this, I have to figure something out.

‘I feel like a lot of people focus on the other person and I did that. I focused on what she did and said.

‘Probably one of the biggest things [I changed] was I stopped saying the word “but”. That was really empowering.

‘It’s like “I said this but it was because she said that”. We live in a victim culture – everybody’s a victim.

‘[Back in the hard times] Justin was holding space for his wife and for the family and the whole thing, and his interest wasn’t really in investing in that relationship with me.

Sean said one of the most empowering things he began to do was to stop using the word 'but' and to move on with his life

Sean said one of the most empowering things he began to do was to stop using the word ‘but’ and to move on with his life

‘When he walked in [at Thanksgiving] he gave me a big hug and said “hey man, come here” and grabbed me, I was really excited about that.

‘It just felt really good to know that someone else was taking that initiative and moving down that path and doing that work with me.

‘Where he and I had been over the last eight, nine years, it was really meaningful – it was very special to me. It was really cool.

‘It’s difficult for him too. I know how difficult it was for me to say positive words when I didn’t want to say positive words. It was a big thing for him to do and it just meant a lot that he did that.’

After taking to Facebook to share his emotional post, more than 13,000 people have viewed Sean's message

After taking to Facebook to share his emotional post, more than 13,000 people have viewed Sean’s message

After embarking on a relationship with his ex-wife's husband, Sean (with his daughter, 16) has written the Amazon bestseller 'How to Make Sh*t Happen'

After embarking on a relationship with his ex-wife’s husband, Sean (with his daughter, 16) has written the Amazon bestseller ‘How to Make Sh*t Happen’

Social media users shared their praise for the father-of-three following his honest post on social media

Social media users shared their praise for the father-of-three following his honest post on social media

Sean’s journey to a good relationship with his ex-wife even led him to writing what he said has been an Amazon bestseller for the last two years called ‘How to Make Sh*t Happen’.

Since sharing his emotional post Facebook on Friday it has racked up more than 1,200 comments and 5,800 shares with many people remarking on the power of Sean’s message. 

Sarah Vincent wrote: Beautiful. When I truly forgave my x (sic), a huge weight lifted and I gained a peace I had never known. Thank you for sharing.’

While Glenn Landry commented: ‘Amen to this post!!! This is how me and my ex do sh*t. We just spent an amazing thanksgiving all together as we always do.’

Sean Whalen’s full Facebook post

‘This is Justin, my ex wife’s husband.

‘It wasn’t too long ago he and I stood in the front yard of my ex wife’s house damn near throwing down with police en route.

‘Today he and my ex and kids all had Thanksgiving at my house and when he walked in he gave me a big hug and said ‘happy thanksgiving man’.

‘That hug was [the] highlight of my day.

‘I know a lot of you reading this are divorced. A lot of you reading this had kids split between two homes. A lot of you reading this are dealing with anger and bitterness and pain and fear and loss.

‘I FEEL YOU. I hated this guy. I hated that he was around my kids. I hated that he hugged them and tucked them in at night.

‘One of the single greatest struggles of my life was my anger. My bitterness and resentment towards my ex and our divorce. Justin naturally wanted to protect his new love and I wanted them both to hurt. BECAUSE I HURT.

‘The most difficult thing I’ve ever done has been to build a relationship with BOTH of them. Not just my ex, but with Justin as well.

‘I could tell so many stories. I have so many reasons to be ‘mad’ and to hate them both. But I learned that building a relationship with them wasn’t for my kids or for us, going into the deepest parts of my pride and ego and soul to learn to love them, to truly love them, was for me.

‘What kind of man was I if I hated my children’s mom?

‘What kind of man was I and would I ever be if I carried anger and bitterness towards him or her regardless of all the BS and pain?

‘I know a lot of y’all reading this right now are angry. You carry weight and say ‘well he or she did […]’. Trust me, friend, I GET IT. When God made me he gave me an extra portion of pride and ego so I know full well how deep this shit runs.

‘And I want you to know one thing. You MUST love your ex for one reason. You must forgive and truly love for one reason.

‘YOU.

‘It’s the most difficult work you will ever do. THE MOST DIFFICULT. But I can promise you friend, the peace and freedom you will find is priceless. Absolutely priceless. The man or woman you will become through this process is priceless.

‘Keep going, friend.

‘LOVE THEM and don’t stop or give up until you do.’

 

 

   

 

Former EU Council head Tusk tweets image of him holding two fingers against Trump’s back like a gun

Former EU Council chief Donald Tusk took a shot at Donald Trump by pretending to point a gun into the back of the US president.

The ex-European Council boss made the cheeky gesture outside the NATO summit in London yesterday.

As Trump stood in front of him, Tusk pointed two fingers at his back so his hand mimicked a gun.

He then tweeted a picture of the prank from his personal account to his 6,800 followers with a message of transatlantic unity. 

Alongside the image Tusk wrote: ‘Despite seasonal turbulences our transatlantic friendship must last #Trump #NATO.’

Donald Tusk tweeted a picture of him pointing two fingers into the back of President Trump 

Alongside the picture, former EU Council leader Donald Tusk tweeted a message of transatlantic unity

Alongside the picture, former EU Council leader Donald Tusk tweeted a message of transatlantic unity 

European Council President Donald Tusk waving as he leaves the European Council headquarters in Brussels last month

European Council President Donald Tusk waving as he leaves the European Council headquarters in Brussels last month 

Germany’s Angela Merkel was seen looking on in the picture, although it is unclear whether her reaction to the stunt was positive or negative. 

Tusk, who was head of the European Council from 2014 until last month, now leads the centre-right European People’s Party.

Trump seem unaware of Tusk’s gesture and as of this afternoon has not tweeted about his EU counterpart’s post, which was the second time the president was mocked by a world leader at the summit.

The US president cancelled his last press conference at the NATO summit after four leaders were caught on a ‘hot mic’ appearing to mock his lengthy press briefings.

Emmanuel Macron, Boris Johnson and Justin Trudeau were caught at the Queen’s reception talking with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte about the US president’s staff and their reactions to some of his antics.

In the video from the reception, which appears to be edited, Trudeau and the other leaders are seen chuckling about Trump while Princess Anne watches on.

After watching the viral clip, Trump tweeted that he would leave the summit without holding a scheduled press conference, bringing an acrimonious end to the military alliance’s 70th anniversary gathering.

President Donald Trump at a breakfast meeting with Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at Winfield House in London on Tuesday

President Donald Trump at a breakfast meeting with Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at Winfield House in London on Tuesday 

Justin Trudeau, center, Emmanuel Macron, second right, and Boris Johnson, right, have all been caught on a hot mic at the Buckingham Palace NATO reception appearing to gossip about Donald Trump and an apparent impromptu lengthy press conference

Justin Trudeau, center, Emmanuel Macron, second right, and Boris Johnson, right, have all been caught on a hot mic at the Buckingham Palace NATO reception appearing to gossip about Donald Trump and an apparent impromptu lengthy press conference

The President wrote: ‘When today’s meetings are over, I will be heading back to Washington. We won’t be doing a press conference at the close of NATO because we did so many over the past two days.’ 

He then blasted Trudeau as ‘two-faced’ over Canada’s payment towards NATO.

Trump told reporters, in yet another press appearance, this time before his head-to-head with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

‘With Trudeau, he’s a nice guy. I find him to be a nice guy, but the truth is, I called him out on the fact that he’s not paying two per cent and I guess he’s not very happy about it,’ he said.

At around 5pm he boarded Marine One at the Grove Hotel in Watford and flew to the runway where Air Force One was preparing to take off. 

Since taking office Trump has repeatedly denigrated the EU, once describing the bloc as a ‘foe’ when asked which nations or leaders he considered to be adversaries of the US. 

In the clip, Trudeau makes the most cutting comments, laughing about Trump's lengthy Q&A sessions with reporters and saying even the president's staff was shocked at some of his actions

In the clip, Trudeau makes the most cutting comments, laughing about Trump’s lengthy Q&A sessions with reporters and saying even the president’s staff was shocked at some of his actions

A tense meeting between Donald Trump and Justin Trudeau was captured on camera at the NATO summit in Watford, Hertfordshire on Wednesday after Trump was questioned by reporters about Trudeau's comments caught on a hot mic on Tuesday

A tense meeting between Donald Trump and Justin Trudeau was captured on camera at the NATO summit in Watford, Hertfordshire on Wednesday after Trump was questioned by reporters about Trudeau’s comments caught on a hot mic on Tuesday

Last week Tusk branded President Trump as possibly the greatest challenge for the European Union in a German newspaper column. 

He wrote in Die Zeit: ‘For the first time in history, there is an American president who is openly against a united Europe. He supports Brexit and prays for the breakup of the Union.’ 

Since the video was made public, all three leaders, Johnson, Macron and Trudeau all moved to defuse the situation.

Macron raged that the video – said to be captured by freelance cameraman Andy Laurence and handed to broadcasters before being first aired by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation – was ‘stolen’ as cameras should not have been rolling in that room.  

Boris Johnson pleaded ignorance saying it was ‘complete nonsense. I don’t know where that has come from’. 

Trudeau insisted they were not ridiculing the president but merely expressing surprise he chose to announce details of an upcoming G7 summit.