As he was being released from an American detention camp in Iraq in 2009, the man who will go on to head the powerful ISIS group issued a menacing warning to his former captors.
‘I’ll see you guys in New York,’ Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi reportedly told U.S. Army reservists from Long Island who had been guarding him at Camp Bucca near the Kuwaiti border.
Army Colonel Kenneth King, who was the commanding officer of the U.S. forces’ largest detention facility in Iraq in 2009 was one of the people who heard al-Baghdadi’s parting words, but he did not take them as a threat at the time.
King reasoned that the prisoner was aware that the majority of the military contingent at the camp hailed from New York, many of them NYPD officers and firefighters serving with the 306 Military Police Battalion.
The colonel took his captive’s words to mean little more than a joke, not unlike ‘I’ll see you on the block,’ he told the Daily Beast.
Al-Baghdadi’s chilling words were uttered as he was being released into the hands of the Iraqi forces after spending four years at Camp Bucca, coincidentally named after an FDNY fire marshal killed in the 9/11 attacks.
The Iraqis ultimately released al-Baghdadi – a decision that Lt Colonel King described as ‘personally disappointing’ in an interview with Fox News.
‘I’m not surprised that it was someone who spent time in Bucca, but I’m a little surprised it was him,” he said. ‘He was a bad dude, but he wasn’t the worst of the worst.’
King said he could never imagine that five years later, the one-time unremarkable detainee would rise through the ranks of Islamic extremists to lead a new generation of insurgents who have been sowing death and chaos around the country over the past week.
The militants fighting with ISIS, also known as ISIL, have captured Mosul and Tikrit, and have been boasting about executing hundreds of Iraqi soldiers.
Read the rest of the story at the Daily Mail.