WASHINGTON (Fwrd Axis) — President Joe Biden said on Thursday that an overnight raid in Syria by U.S. special forces resulted in the death of ISIS leader Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi, marking one of the biggest moments of his presidency to date.
Earlier Thursday morning there were conflicting reports on how al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi died but the President confirmed the leader of the Islamic State terrorism group died from a suicide bomb, which also killed his family.
“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 the building, he chose to blow himself up,” Biden said at the White House.
“Last night’s operation took a major terrorist threat off the battlefield and has sent a strong message to terrorists around the world: We will come after you and find you,” he said. “Once again today, we continue our unceasing effort to keep the American people safe and strengthen the security of our allies and partners around the world.”
During the raid, al-Qurayshi reportedly triggered a bomb that killed his wife and children. The blast was so powerful that bodies were blown outside of the house, a senior administration official said.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said al-Quaryashi’s death was confirmed with fingerprint and DNA analysis.
Al-Qurayshi was named ISIS leader in October 2019 after his predecessor, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, was also killed in an air raid in the same month. U.S. officials said he was directly overseeing ISIS activities across Iraq and Syria. In his remarks, Biden said al-Qurayshi was responsible for a recent attack on a prison in Syria holding ISIS fighters.
“Hajji Abdullah’s death delivers a catastrophic blow to ISIS and shows that the United States will take out terrorist threats no matter where they stand to hide in the world — try to hide in the world,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said.
Psaki said the operation was planned over the course of several months and lasted two hours. Biden and monitored developments in real-time Wednesday night in the Situation Room, along with Vice President Kamala Harris and members of his national security team.
“Thanks to the bravery of our troops, this horrible terrorist leader is no more,” Biden said. “Our forces carried out the operation with their signature preparation and precision, and I directed the Department of Defense to take every precaution possible to minimize civilian casualties.”
Pentagon spokesman Kirby said U.S. forces evacuated ten people, including eight children, from the building but confirmed three children were killed in the raid. Two of those children were al-Qurayshi’s, who were killed in his suicide blast on the third floor, and another child on the second floor.
“Last night’s effective action took a major terrorist leader off the battlefield and makes it clear that we will hold anyone accountable who seeks to harm Americans at home or around the world,” Psaki said.