Atmeh, Syria: The leader of the violent Islamic State group was killed Thursday, blowing himself up along with members of his family during an overnight raid carried out by U.S. special operations forces in northwestern Syria, President Joe Biden said.
The raid targeted Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi, who took over as head of the terror group on Oct. 31, 2019, just days after leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi died during a U.S. raid in the same area. Biden said al-Qurayshi died as al-Baghdadi did, by exploding a bomb that killed self and members of his family, including women and children, as U.S. forces approached.
“Thanks to the bravery of our troops this horrible terrorist leader is no more,” Biden said. He said al-Qurayshi had been responsible for the prison strike, as well as genocide against the Yazidi people in Iraq in 2014.
U.S. Special Forces landed in helicopters and attacked a house in a rebel-held corner of Syria, clashing for two hours with gunmen, witnesses said. “The mission was successful,” Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said in a brief statement. “There were no U.S. casualties.”
Biden, along with Vice President Kamala Harris and senior national security aides monitored a live feed of the operation from the White House Situation Room according to an official. The president was kept abreast of the commandos’ long flight out of Syria by National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan overnight.