ISIS is claiming credit for an attack that killed more than 300 people — just after Trump said the terrorist network was completely defeated.
Just last month, the Trump administration claimed "100%" victory over ISIS. Trump even tweeted maps supposedly showing the complete defeat of the terrorist network. On Tuesday, ISIS claimed responsibility for a series of attacks on churches and hotels in Sri Lanka that killed at least 321 people.
The ISIS news agency Amaq sent out a bulletin that said the attacks were carried out by "Islamic State fighters" and described the horrific attacks on Easter as having taken place during "the infidel holiday."
Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe noted "foreign involvement" with the bombings and noted that one or two of them had been in Syria.
CNN also reported Tuesday that Sri Lankan officials had received "early warnings from India's intelligence services" from a the interrogation of an ISIS suspect.
Trump and members of his administration, including Mike Pence, have repeatedly made premature proclamations that ISIS has been defeated. Pence in fact claimed ISIS "has been defeated" on the very day that ISIS claimed credit for the deaths of four American troops killed in an explosion in northern Syria.
U.S. military officials have often undercut those inaccurate assessments from the administration.
"They are dispersed and disaggregated, but there is leadership, there are fighters there, there are facilitators there,” Gen. Joseph Votel, head of U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), testified to Congress in February.
In January, the annual Worldwide Threat Assessment released by American intelligence officials also rejected such notions that ISIS had been entirely wiped out.
"ISIS still commands thousands of fighters in Iraq and Syria, and it maintains eight branches, more than a dozen networks, and thousands of dispersed supporters around the world, despite significant leadership and territorial losses," the report stated, eschewing Trump’s language.
Trump and his administration are clearly eager to claim a major military accomplishment and declare "100%" victory against an enemy. But those statements and tweeted maps and premature celebrations do nothing to eliminate the threat of ISIS and look particularly ill-informed in the wake of yet another deadly tragedy.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.