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Photo of Trump watching Baghdadi raid was staged: Former White House photographer

A former White House photographer puts into question the shooting time of a photo in which US President Donald Trump and his advisers are said to be monitoring the operation of killing Daesh leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

Pete Souza, the chief official White House photographer for former Presidents Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama, tweeted the photo released by the White House of Trump in the Situation Room alongside US military top brass monitoring the raid did not match up with the reported time of the raid.

Souza, an outspoken critic of Trump, said the timestamp showed it was taken at 17.05 p.m. on Saturday – more than 90 minutes after the 3.30 p.m. raid reportedly happened.

There were also tabloids claiming that the US president was golfing at the time of the operation and that he returned to the White House at 3.33 p.m.

Some others suggested that the photo was released to be compared with the photograph of Obama intently watching the killing of al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden in 2011.

Former President Barack Obama (second from left) along with members of the national security team, receive an update on Operation Neptune Spear, a mission against Osama bin Laden, in one of the conference rooms of the Situation Room of the White House, May 1, 2011.

Souza also said it was possible that the operation continued through the time the photo was taken. 

“It’s entirely possible that the raid was still going on at 5:05 p.m. Before drawing definite conclusions about the photo, reporters need to nail down the actual timeline of the raid.”

Speaking to reporters on Sunday, Trump said he watched the operation alongside Vice President Mike Pence, Defense Secretary Mark Esper and a few others.

He marveled to reporters about the quality of the video feed, saying it was “like a movie.”

On Saturday, Newsweek reported that the United States military had conducted a special operations raid against the ringleader.

PressTV-Daesh chief targeted, US claims

Daesh chief targeted, US claimsThe United States military has conducted a special operations raid against Daesh Takfiri leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, Newsweek reports.

According to a senior Pentagon official familiar with the operation and Army official briefed on the matter, a “high value ISIS (Daesh) target” – believed to be Baghdadi – was targeted during a top-secret operation in Syria’s northwestern Idlib province earlier on Saturday.

The Joint Special Operations Command carried out the raid after receiving actionable intelligence, according to sources familiar with the operation.

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