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 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. let the games begin — the opening ceremony for beijing's winter olympics takes place on friday, amid excitement and controversy. america says the kremlin has plans to broadcast fake images of the ukrainian army shooting russian sympathisers as a pretext for an invasion. and a rescue operation continues in northern morocco, after a 5—year—old
boy fell into a well. 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. 13 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 formerjihadist 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 one of america's leading authorities on isis, colin p clarke, who works
as a counter—terrorism analyst at the soufan group. thank you so much forjoining us. i would be very curious for your thoughts on how you see this particular targeted strike against be leader of is? thanks for having _ against be leader of is? thanks for having me. _ against be leader of is? thanks for having me. an _ against be leader of is? thanks for having me. an important. for having me. an important strike on the part of the united states. hajji abdullah was one of the top, most wanted terrorist in the world. but i would also caution against what the impact is going to be. i have been speaking about the sorbet, one of my messages is, it is a tactical win but it is not a strategic story, so we have to take it for what it is worth. it is important, but we have to keep in perspective. this is a long fight against a really capable, both operationally and organisationally, terrorist group. organisationally, terrorist urou -. ., organisationally, terrorist ”rou, ., organisationally, terrorist u-rou. ., ., group. you say capable. i would be really curious _ group. you say capable. i would be really curious also _ group. you say capable. i would be really curious also for- group. you say capable. i would be really curious also for how i be really curious also for how you understand the state or the power of isis now, because they
did disappearfrom power of isis now, because they did disappear from the power of isis now, because they did disappearfrom the headline somewhat in recent months? well, isis core has disappeared from the headlines but there has been a steady uptake in attacks and operational tempo from isis affiliate in sub—saharan africa, including in the democratic republic of congo and mozambique. there has been activity throughout the sahel in west africa. and of course we can't forget islamic state khorasan afghanistan, the deadly attack against the kabul airport this summer, and the insurgency it is waging against the taliban. this is a global affiliate, to have disappeared from the headlines, but up until last week with the prison break and now the announcement of the death of the group's leader. i of the death of the group's leader. u, �* of the death of the group's leader. u, �* , , of the death of the group's leader. �* , , , , leader. i can't help, my eyes no leader. i can't help, my eyes 90 towards _ leader. i can't help, my eyes go towards the _ leader. i can't help, my eyes go towards the book - leader. i can't help, my eyes go towards the book after i leader. i can't help, my eyes| go towards the book after the caliphate behind you. do you think those all aspects of a caliphate, that is what we first began to know is four, they were trying to create this state, there were lots of
consequences for that, people involved in it at the time. do you think that part of is is over? is it a different area we are in now? i over? is it a different area we are in now?— are in now? i do, i really do. you know. — are in now? i do, i really do. you know. i— are in now? i do, i really do. you know, i don't— are in now? i do, i really do. you know, i don't see - are in now? i do, i really do. you know, i don't see it - you know, i don't see it anywhere on the cards, for this group to reconstitute a large swathes of territory. bits and pieces here and there, small towns and villages as the group's power ebbs and flows. but, you know, the anti—daesh or anti—is coalition has achieved some major objectives and it is going to stay that way. that is in the middle east. we could see swathes of territory swallowed up in other parts of the world but the key is going to be quick reaction and targeted strikes like so with the us carrying out the group's top tier leadership. that is in syria, of course, and as we know they may be somebody else who takes his place in short order. you know, he reminded me of afghanistan there and of course but attack that took base, we often focus our attention on the taliban that took over in august, but
what is that power but are like within the country when it comes to islamic state, and their rivals, in some respects, their rivals, in some respects, the taliban? —— power battle. rivals in every respect. islamist state in khorasan is waging an insurgency against the taliban, based out of the af—pak border area. but i will say about the death of hajji abdullah could be really significant for how the affiliate �*s behaviour going forward. a lot of this is unknown, but we do think that there was communication and co—ordination between what we would call isis core or isis central and their affiliates in other parts of the world, including a gonna stand for suburb there is no communication for a time, that could very well affect the objectives and trajectories of isk in afghanistan. we will
have to wait and see. we will, but this is _ have to wait and see. we will, but this is one _ have to wait and see. we will, but this is one point _ have to wait and see. we will, but this is one point in - have to wait and see. we will, but this is one point in the - but this is one point in the biden administration, perhaps in a row we haven't so much seen mr biden in before. —— role. what do you think he needs to do next, if he is to fend off some of those threats you have outlined? i fend off some of those threats you have outlined?— you have outlined? i think he needs to _ you have outlined? i think he needs to continue _ you have outlined? i think he needs to continue a - you have outlined? i think he needs to continue a string i you have outlined? i think he needs to continue a string of| needs to continue a string of victories here. you know, these are tactical versus not going to supplant a broader counterterrorism strategy, but the united states isjuggling a lot at once. internationally there is the russia— ukraine issue, at home, covid. it will be keen not to get distracted and to make sure that there is bandwidth to deal with counterterrorism. you know, in the us right now, especially in washington, dc and the beltway, all the talk is about great power competition, china, russia, etc. at our enemies get a vote to, and the islamic state may be humbled, but it is far from state may be humbled, but it is farfrom being defeated. —— but our enemies. 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. j 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: | 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 2,000 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. anna firth has been elected. no other party took part in the
poll is a sign of respect. sir david amess was stabbed last year. many ballot papers were spoiled. in northern morocco, efforts are continuing to rescue a 5—year—old boy who fell into a well. rayan has been stuck in a 32—metre deep water well since tuesday. aru na iyengar reports. bulld ozers bulldozers work flat—out in tamrout in the northern tourist province of chefchaouen racing to dig 32—metre deep a hole alongside the shaft of a well. waiting inside his five—year—old rayan, who fell in last tuesday, falling in after his father was repairing the wealth. translation: . translation: the closer we get the well gets _ translation: the closer we get the well gets narrow _ translation: the closer we get the well gets narrow making - translation: the closer we get the well gets narrow making it i the well gets narrow making it hard for volunteers to say the child. this is why we had to come up with another technique, which is digging. come up with another technique, which is digging-— which is digging. rescuers have been able to —
which is digging. rescuers have been able to send _ which is digging. rescuers have been able to send oxygen - which is digging. rescuers have been able to send oxygen and l been able to send oxygen and water to rayan through pipes, a tricky painstaking menubar. it is a long way down on the diameter of the water well with less than 45 centimetres. the plight of rayan has touched the hearts of moroccans, there has been an outpouring online with this # going viral across north africa. cards have gathered at the site, anxious to hear the latest on the rescue. translation: ., , ., , , latest on the rescue. translation: , , . translation: rayan is very much loved in the _ translation: rayan is very much loved in the village _ translation: rayan is very much loved in the village not _ translation: rayan is very much loved in the village notjust - loved in the village notjust at home. i miss him, it has been three nights. but rescuers are working _ been three nights. but rescuers are working against _ been three nights. but rescuers are working against the - been three nights. but rescuers are working against the clock. are working against the clock and conditions are difficult. they remain hopeful they can reach rayan and bring him to safety. aruna iyengar, bbc news. 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 ii 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. well, i've been talking to los angeles—based entertainment journalist piya sinha—roy because, as always, there's been some snubs and surprise nominations. i think the baftas 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. denis villeneuve, the director, did not get a directing nod but he did get adapted screenplay and one of the biggest surprises and biggest snubs was spencer and kristin stewart'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. were there any surprises for you in the sense of somebody has done really well who thought might not? i think the power of the dog is actually definitely one to watch here. it has eight nods including the top ones, best film, actor, supporting actor, director and adapted screenplay. and i also absolutely adore the japanese film that has been nominated. seeing that in the mix was quite exciting. i have 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. once streaming 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. it is a big landscape and awards should reflect a more global landscape, i think.
you can reach me on twitter — i'm @ bbcnuala 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—a0 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, i—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 io—ii celsius here, but turning colder with more snow showers packing in across the north. into sunday, and wintry showers once again across the northwest of the uk. early rain should clear away from parts of southern england to leave us all in sunnier skies, but feeling colder once again with that northwesterly breeze and highs around about 5—11 celsius on sunday. bye— bye.
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 senior figures 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. now on bbc news, it's panorama. is it time to resign, prime minister? could it be the end for borisjohnson? i was absolutely furious and it felt like an enormous betrayal. i was getting a large quantity of emails from my constituents, saying that this is outrageous. where's borisjohnson now? where is he? working! not having cheese and wine today? l we've all been through this horrendous time. i think we need to cut the prime ministera bit of slack. as he waded through the empty bottles and the platters of sandwiches, he didn't realise it was a party!