The helicopters flew low and fast into the night, ferrying U.S. special forces to a compound where Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was hiding in Syria. The daring raid was the culmination of years of steady intelligence-gathering work _ and 48 hours of hurry-up planning once Washington got word that al-Baghdadi would be at a compound in northwestern Syria. The night unfolded with methodical precision and unexpected turns. Moments after the White House team had gathered, U.S. aircraft, mostly twin-rotor CH-47 helicopters, took off from Al-Asad air base in western Iraq. Within hours, al-Baghdadi was dead.
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