welcome to bbc news. i'm nuala mcgovern. our top stories: president biden gives details of how the head of the islamic state group was killed during a raid by us special forces in syria. he chose below, to blow up the third floor rather than face justice to the crimes he has committed. taking several members of his family with him. let the games begin — the opening ceremony for beijing's winter olympics takes place on friday, amid excitement and controversy. and, downing street in turmoil after four senior aides to borisjohnson resign within hours of each other.
welcome to our viewers on pbs in america and around the globe. the united states says it did everything it could to minimise civilian casualties during a raid in syria, in which the leader of the islamic state group was killed. the president said that abu ibrahim al-qurayshi — also known as hajji abdullah — blew himself up, along with four members of his family, as us specialforces approached the building. thirteen people — including children — were killed, but no us casualties were reported. the bbc�*s state department correspondent barbara plett usher reports. in a corner of northwest syria where a forgotten conflict simmers, america reminded the islamic state group that its leaders were still a target. the raid took place in the dead of night and lasted two hours. us special forces landed
in helicopters near the home of the is leader, hajji abdullah. those close by described a night of terror. translation: when we got out of the house, . we saw aircraft flying over our heads. and after ten minutes, we heard them shouting, "give yourself up, the house is surrounded." some civilians living in the same building were safely evacuated but women and children were among the dead. us officials blamed the militants — they said hajji abdullah blew himself up, killing his family in the blast, and that his deputy barricaded himself on the second floor with his wife — both died in a gunfight. us forces were expecting the suicide bombing. it's happened before when a militant leader is cornered. as our troops approached to capture the terrorist, in a final act of desperate cowardice, with no regard to the lives of his own family or others in the building, he chose to blow himself up — notjust with a vest, but to blow up that third floor rather than face justice for the crimes he's committed,
taking several members of his family with him, just as his predecessor did. president biden monitored the raid from the situation room — like former presidents targeting former jihadist leaders — getting reports in real time from his top military officials. hajji abdullah took over the islamic state group after its previous leader died in a us raid. he'd kept an extremely low profile, but was accused of coordinating global terrorist operations. his death is a blow to the group which had been trying to make a comeback in syria and iraq. the only american casualty was a helicopter. us forces destroyed it before leaving the area — they said it had mechanical issues. but, otherwise, they're claiming this operation a victory in the forever war against islamist extremism. barbara plett usher, bbc news, washington. we can now speak to javed ali, who's a former senior director of counterterrorism on the national security
council and now associate professor of practice at the gerald r ford school of public policy. how significant do you think this operation is in killing the leader of is group. there has been public exercise in the killing. and there is probably somebody ready to take his place? somebody ready to take his lace? , , . ., , somebody ready to take his lace? ,,. ., place? this is clearly a significant _ place? this is clearly a significant operation. i place? this is clearly a i significant operation. any place? this is clearly a - significant operation. any time a senior leader of a group like isis is removed, it is a positive outcome for at least the west's perspective but going forward will not mean the strategic defeat or collapse of isis. there are likely several candidates already considered to take his place.— candidates already considered to take his place. what do you think president _ to take his place. what do you think president biden - to take his place. what do you think president biden has - think president biden has achieved? it is honest we have
got used to seeing them sitting around the table is something dramatic unfolds. for him, domestically, what does it mean? i domestically, what does it mean? ., ., ~ ., , mean? i do not know the inside macca nations _ mean? i do not know the inside macca nations of _ mean? i do not know the inside macca nations of the _ mean? i do not know the inside macca nations of the calculus i macca nations of the calculus but i would have to think this is more and developing the intelligence on a target like abu ibrahim al-qurayshi and engaging in a detailed planning and sophisticated co—ordination to successfully execute a mission like this. the political context of what would've happened, they may be people that think it might have been the motivation but in my experience it is driven by external circumstances and politics does not come into it. what i was struck with, david, was the pointed reference to civilian casualties and that felt different to previous operations perhaps. that has
been a lot — operations perhaps. that has been a lot of _ operations perhaps. that has been a lot of reporting - operations perhaps. that has been a lot of reporting that l operations perhaps. that has| been a lot of reporting that by the new york times that has exposed, over the last few years, the even despite us efforts to limit civilian casualties, have occurred in the us government was willing to acknowledge, i don't think stop with that out in the open, the joe stop with that out in the open, thejoe biden administration the joe biden administration has thejoe biden administration has had to tackle that stop they announced the programme and policy in the defence department to limit civilian casualties and that sounds like that was one of the fact is in the planning of the rate and also tactically announcing the fact that us forces were on the ground before they assaulted the building with a loud speaker and that is unprecedented and that isn't this emphasis on limiting civilian casualties.- this emphasis on limiting civilian casualties. thank you forjoining — civilian casualties. thank you forjoining us. _ the winter olympics are getting underway in beijing with the opening ceremony
in a few hours' time. almost 3,000 athletes from 91 nations will compete, across seven sports. but the run—up to the games has been fraught with controversy. many countries have announced a diplomatic boycott of the event, citing human rights abuses in china. added to that, cases of coronavirus have bbeen found inside beijing's olympic bubble. our china correspondent robin brant has the very latest. she is one of china's olympians of tomorrow — maybe. she hadn't even been born the first time the olympics came to town. but now, the six—year—old skater is inspired by the games. translation: it's very exhausting, but she presses on. she won't leave until she's learned how to do all the moves. she doesn't quit. she can't go to any of the events, though. she can't get close. the winter olympics is happening in beijing, but almost everyone here is excluded from it. translation: it's sad we can't go to see the games in person.
we'll have to watch them on tv. china is in the middle of a renewed battle to try to maintain zero covid in this country, and it's decided not to sell any tickets for the games to members of the general public, so everyone who queues outside venues like this in the weeks ahead is going to be hand—picked — a member of the ruling communist party, or someone who works at a government—controlled company. it's notjust covid measures keeping people away. there's confrontation over china's human rights record. senior officials from the us, the uk, and more than a dozen other governments aren't coming to the ice rinks. the olympics is just sport, though, say some looking on. translation: i think sports are sports, - and they shouldn't be messed with politics. the games belong to everyone, and we should all participate and watch. politics is just politics.
this is the official slogan of the games. and these children are singing about it in this propaganda video, released last month by the government in xinjiang, a place where china denies it's committed genocide. a former olympian who's close to america's athletes this time told me why some of them are nervous about sharing this moment. i had one athlete tell me that they've had nothing in the lead—up to these olympics — they've had not a single team meeting about sport and about their athletic performance. every meeting they've had has been either about covid protocols or about safety — athlete safety, personal safety in beijing. i don't think a single athlete is going to speak out at the games — and nor do i think they should. if i were there i would be keeping my mouth shut because the risk is just too great. and this is really a failure of the international olympic committee. it's a failure of leadership that athletes are in this position.
in many ways, this looks like a normal olympic games. there are updated rules in place to allow the athletes to express their concerns — away from the tracks, slopes, rinks and podiums. but what is always a cold gathering feels much more frosty this time round. this is a games defined by the big fissure on the world stage, with china on one side and the us and others on the other. and inside the bubble, athletes trying to get on with their sport. robin brant, bbc news, beijing. let's turn to the ukraine crisis, and an american claim that russia is planning to stage fake events to justify taking military action. here's pentagon spokesman john kirby outlining the plot. one option is the russian government, we think, is planning to stage a fake attack by ukrainian military or intelligence forces against russian
sovereign territory, or against russian—speaking people to therefore justify their action. as part of this fake attack, we believe that russia would produce a very graphic propaganda video, which would include corpses and actors that would be depicting mourners, and images of destroyed locations as well as military equipment at the hands of ukraine or the west — even to the point where some of this equipment would be made to look like it was western—supplied to ukraine equipment. russia says it is not planning any false flag operations and has previously dismissed all suggestions that it's planning any military action. meanwhile the us started making good on its promise to deploy additional troops to europe. these are some of the 2000 soldiers who'll be heading to germany and poland, with others already in germany heading to romania.
and in europe — there has been another flurry of diplomatic visits to kyiv and moscow. turkey's leader, president erdogan, was the guest of ukraine's president zelensky. the turkish leader said his country would remain neutral but offered to mediate with russia. meanwhile, vladimir putin hosted the president of argentina. moscow insists they have no plans to invade ukraine and the build up of russian forces is nothing more than military exercises. stay with us on bbc news. still to come: spectacle and spice — sci—fi epic dune racks up the nominations ahead of the british bafta awards. this is the moment that millions in iran have been waiting for. after his long years in exile, the first hesitant steps of ayatollah khomeini on iranian soil. south africa's white government has offered its black opponents concessions unparalleled in the history of apartheid,
and the anc leader nelson mandela is to be set free unconditionally. mission control: three, two, one... a countdown to a critical moment — the world's most powerful rocket ignited all 27 of its engines at once. and apart from its power, it's this recycling of the rocket, slashing the cost of a launch, that makes this a breakthrough in the business of space travel. two americans have become the first humans to walk in space without any lifeline to their spaceship. one of them called it "a piece of cake". thousands of people have given l the yachtswoman ellen macarthur a spectacular homecoming - in the cornish port of falmouth after she smashed the world record . for sailing solo _ around the world, non—stop. this is bbc news — the latest headlines: president biden gives details of how the head of the islamic state group was killed during a raid by us special forces in syria.
let the games begin — the opening ceremony for beijing's winter olympics takes place on friday — amid excitement and controversy. now to events in britain where downing street is in turmoilfollowing the resignation of four senior aides to borisjohnson. policy head munira mirza quit over the prime minister's false claim that the leader of the opposition was personally responsible for the failure to prosecute notorious paedophilejimmy savile, when he was director of public prosecutions. her departure was followed by three other aides. our political editor laura kuensseberg reports. applause. borisjohnson managed to keep a blackpool tram on track today. yet it's not clear tonight where his leadership is really going. "that went well, thank god for that," the prime minister said. he might need prayers to create a sense of stability in his government, though. the communications director, jack doyle, walked out
of his job tonight. a major role in any number 10, but the message had gone badly wrong. the chief of staff, dan rosenfield, who was brought in to create order, is on his bike and going too. the third exit, martin reynolds, the prime minister's senior civil servant, who invited around 100 people to a garden party. and the explosive fourth exit, his friend and political confidant of more than ten years, munira mirza. chief of ideas, "boris's brain," one former colleague told me. she has notjust gone, but has left dynamite in herwake — slamming the prime minister's comments linking the leader of the opposition to jimmy savile early this week. she wrote...
this is what he'd managed to say. i'm talking not about the leader of the opposition�*s personal record when he was dpp. and i totally understand that he had nothing to do personally with those decisions. i was making a point about, erm, his responsibility for the organisation. not an apology for the false claim he originally made on monday. this leader of the opposition, a former director of public prosecutions, mr speaker, who spent most of his time prosecuting journalists and failing to prosecutejimmy savile, as far as i can make out, mr speaker! an untrue allegation that appalled victims and some mps on the prime minister's own side. keir starmer was the boss of the crown prosecution service whenjimmy savile was not charged. but sir keir had no individual involvement in the case. and unusually, the chancellor was happy to show a public split. being honest, i wouldn't have
said it, and i'm glad that the prime minister clarified what he meant. who, as well as grappling with the economy, is grappling with the government's reputation. hi, laura, how are you? he lives and works under the same roof where lockdown gatherings took place. for the record, chancellor, you knew nothing of any of these gatherings? even when it happened outside that window, you knew nothing? as i said — people think i'm standing here, looking outside that window, i spent half my time in the treasury, as well as working here. but what i was focused on at that time, you know, as were many people, is making sure that we could help the country through a period of enormous anxiety. you walked into the cabinet room at the end of borisjohnson�*s birthday celebration — did that not happen? you're asking about something that happened over two years ago, i walked into a meeting with a group of people as i do all the time. do you worry, though, that this has damaged the public�*s confidence in the government that you're part of? yes, i think it has, and i can appreciate
people's frustration. and i think it's now the job of all of us in government, all politicians, to restore people's trust. some of your colleagues want the prime minister to go. if that were to happen would you run to replace him? no, that's not what i'm focused on, and of course... that's not my question — would you do it? some of your colleagues want you to. well, that's very kind of them to suggest that. but what i think people want from me — and what your viewers will want from me — is to focus on myjob, and the prime minister has my full support. but support for the bigger of this double act may not last forever. chaotic days are one thing — a loss of credibility quite another. laura kuenssberg, bbc news, downing street. the conservative party has won a byelection in the english constituency of southend west, in essex. anna firth was elected with just under 13,000 votes. i would also like to pay
tribute to the political parties who marked their respect to sir david by not contesting this by—election. it is inspiring to see politicians come together from across the political divide to respect a great man and a great parliamentarian. i'm joined now by our political reporter simon dedman who has been following the by—election for us. anna firth mentioned briefly there butjust anna firth mentioned briefly there but just for our anna firth mentioned briefly there butjust for our viewers around the world, it was tragic circumstances that led to this seat being vacated. it circumstances that led to this seat being vacated.— seat being vacated. it was indeed. six _ seat being vacated. it was indeed. six months - seat being vacated. it was indeed. six months ago i seat being vacated. it was i indeed. six months ago anna firth could not imagine she would be here being elected the mp for south and west. this was called after the former mp, sir david amess was stabbed to death while carrying out a constituency surgery where he
meets voters in his constituency back in october. that is what has led to this vote taking place today and the other main parties in the uk, labour, lib dems and the greens decided not to stand as a mark of respect and in solidarity against what happened to sir david amess.— against what happened to sir david amess. you are tweeting earlier about _ david amess. you are tweeting earlier about the _ david amess. you are tweeting earlier about the low _ david amess. you are tweeting earlier about the low turnout. l earlier about the low turnout. tell us about that. this is one of the lowest turnouts in a westminster by—election since world war ii. it is about one third of what it was at the last general election in 2019 and what is interesting is that while the voter is down by around two—thirds, the number of spoiled ballots has quadrupled, technically spoiled ballots came second and on those there have been some remarks that have been some remarks that have jibed at the prime
minister including boris, do a brexit and get out, get out, boris and that is the second—largest vote, if you like, that has taken place there today.— there today. that is interesting. - there today. that is interesting. i - there today. that is interesting. i was . there today. that is - interesting. i was about to there today. that is _ interesting. i was about to ask you if you were seeing feeling that from the people you met if you have been following this by—election today. it you have been following this by-election today.— you have been following this by-election today. it has been a mixed picture, _ by-election today. it has been a mixed picture, honestly. - by-election today. it has been | a mixed picture, honestly. you have some conservative voters who despite the social gatherings that have taken place at downing street are still voting conservative. there have been labour voters who said they voted conservative for the first time because of the circumstances of this by—election and they feel it is fair that the conservatives keep this seat. however there have been others who were upset that there has not been such choice on the paper this time and clearly some voters have decided to express their anger by writing messages on their ballots.
becoming second here is a party called the psychedelic movement so there really has been a mix of other parties on the ballot for the people of south and west. i think our global viewers will find that interesting. thank you for bringing us up to date. anna firth now the memberfor southend west. the nominations for the 2022 british academy film awards, have been announced. science fiction epic dune, an adaptation of frank herbert's 1965 novel, led the nominations, securing 11 nods. jane campion�*s dark western the power of the dog, starring benedict cumberbatch, following with eight. belfast, kenneth brannagh's semi—autobiographical black and white film set during northern ireland's troubles, received six nominations. the winners will be announced at the ceremony on 13th march. let's bring in los angeles—based entertainment writer, piya sinha—roy, because, as always, there's been some snubs and surprise nominations.
i'm curious to hear your take on�*s all these coming in, what struck you? i was think they present a mixed bag and every yeari present a mixed bag and every year i can never make sense of some nominations. i think was interesting to see 11 nominations for dune, other than best film it is mainly in the craft categories. the director did not get a directing nod but he did get adapted screenplay and one of the biggest surprises and biggest snobs was spencer and kristin stuart's performance as princess diana. i think that was one of the biggest surprises for me. i remember at the time there was an awful lot of chat about it.— of chat about it. whether any surprises _ of chat about it. whether any surprises for _ of chat about it. whether any surprises for you _ of chat about it. whether any surprises for you in _ of chat about it. whether any surprises for you in the - of chat about it. whether any| surprises for you in the sense of somebody has done really well who thought might not was to mark i think the power of the dog is actually definitely
want to watch here. it is eight nods including _ want to watch here. it is eight nods including the _ want to watch here. it is eight nods including the top - want to watch here. it is eight nods including the top ones, i nods including the top ones, best film, actor, supporting actor, directorand best film, actor, supporting actor, director and adapted screenplay. and i also absolutely the japanese film that has been nominated. seeing that in the mix was quite exciting. i nominated. seeing that in the mix was quite exciting.- mix was quite exciting. i have not seen _ mix was quite exciting. i have not seen that _ mix was quite exciting. i have not seen that yet _ mix was quite exciting. i have not seen that yet but - mix was quite exciting. i have not seen that yet but i - mix was quite exciting. i have not seen that yet but i was i not seen that yet but i was taking a look and it is a japanese movie, isn't it, that has basically really captured the imagination of people but maybe we have turned a corner, i was thinking. parasite was a south korean film that got the top nod at the oscars a few years ago. do you think audiences and perhaps also the industry is more open to more diversity, perhaps, with what they put out? i think it is absolutely something that they are seeing. absolutely something that they are seeing-— are seeing. once streaming platforms — are seeing. once streaming platforms came _ are seeing. once streaming
platforms came along i are seeing. once streaming platforms came along and l platforms came along and started to bring in content from all over the world we started to see the normal geographic barriers breaking down among audiences and you only have to look at squid game being one of the biggest phenomenons of the last year to know that people are willing to watch shows and movies in other languages now and that is something that many of us were saying for a long time and i think the industry is now realising that yes there is an audience there and money on the table and for a film like this i think it is wonderful because it should be part of the mix. a big landscape and awards should reflect a more global landscape, i think. reflect a more global landscape, ithink. thank you so much _ landscape, ithink. thank you so much for— landscape, ithink. thank you so much forjoining _ landscape, ithink. thank you so much forjoining us - landscape, ithink. thank you so much forjoining us from i landscape, i think. thank you l so much forjoining us from la. 0f so much forjoining us from la. of course we love taking a look at some of the movies that you are watching and just briefly a reminder of our top story, the united states said it did everything it could to minimise any casualties during a raid on syria during which the leader of the eis group was killed.
this is bbc world news, stay with us if you can. hello. we're seeing a real change in weather type at the moment, as a cold front is spreading its way across the uk, and that will be bringing us a colder and windier spell of weather into friday, with some wintry showers around, too. here's the cold air streaming in behind this cold front, which is working gradually south—eastwards. still bringing some rain, even some sleet and some snow on the back edge of that, too — particularly for the likes of the pennines, the peak district, and over the high ground of wales, as well. but mainly to the south of that, it's going to be falling as rain. but a cold morning friday morning across scotland, northern ireland and northern england. so, some icy stretches around and wintry showers falling on that cold ground. so, do be prepared for some icy stretches on any untreated surfaces during friday morning. but some sunshine working in across parts of northern england, wales, and the southwest, and eventually that rain and sleetiness will clear away from the southeast, too. so, then, we're all in
the clearer spells on friday — some sunshine, but also plenty of showers streaming in on that brisk wind. so, gusts will be about 30—110 mph, perhaps as high as 50 mph in the north—west. and wintry showers over the higher ground of scotland, northern ireland, and northern england in particular. temperatures between only about 4—9 celsius, and feeling colder when you add on the wind chill, as well. overnight friday night, we've got clearer skies, 1—2 wintry showers, some rain and hill snow working into the northwest later in the night. but under those clear skies, we'll be seeing quite a cold start to your weekend, with quite a widespread frost. so, heading on into saturday, then, after that cold start, the next weather front streams in from the atlantic — and you can see quite a long weather front here, the first area here bringing some wet and windy weather initially to the northwest of the uk on saturday, and this frontal system marks the divide between milder air in the south and colder conditions towards the north. so, with the arrival of that wet and windy weather, there'll be some snow once again over the higher ground of scotland, patchy rain working slowly south into england and wales, but probably east anglia and the south—east remaining dry all day with temperatures around 10—11 celsius here, but turning colder with more snow showers packing in across the north. into sunday, and wintry showers once again across
this is bbc news. the headlines: the biden administration says it did all it could to minimise civilian deaths during a raid in which the leader of islamic state group blew himself up. mr biden said he'd authorised an assault by special forces rather than an air strike because the is chief surrounded himself with civilians. the winter olympics are getting underway in beijing, with the opening ceremony in just a few hours' time. but the run—up to the games has been fraught with controversy. many countries have announced a diplomatic boycott of the event, citing human rights abuses by the chinese authorities. four seniorfigures at downing street have resigned putting renewed pressure on the british prime minister, borisjohnson. they include his chief of staff, head of communications and head of policy. several members of parliament from his own party have publicly called for the prime minister to resign. northern ireland's first