President Joe Biden confirmed the leader of ISIS is dead after he blew himself and his family up during a raid by U.S. commandos on a house in northwest Syria today.
Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi set off a bomb that killed himself as well as members of this family, the White House said.
Thirteen were killed, including six children and four women during the mission, which involved 24 Special Operations commandos backed by attack jets, Reaper drones and helicopter gunships, according to a report by MailOnline.
‘At the beginning of the operation, the terrorist target exploded a bomb that killed him and members of his own family, including women and children,’ a senior administration official said.
In his statement Biden said al-Qurayshi was ‘taken off the battlefield.’ He added that he would address the operation in remarks later Thursday.
‘Last night at my direction, U.S. military forces in northwest Syria successfully undertook a counterterrorism operation to protect the American people and our Allies, and make the world a safer place,’ the president said in a statement early Thursday morning.
‘Thanks to the skill and bravery of our Armed Forces, we have taken off the battlefield Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi—the leader of ISIS. All Americans have returned safely from the operation.’
Biden, along with Vice President Kamala Harris and national security aides monitored a live-feed of the operation from the White House Situation Room, according to a photo released by the administration.
U.S. special forces landed in helicopters and assaulted the house in a rebel-held corner of Syria, near the border with Turkey, clashing for two hours with gunmen, witnesses said in local reports.
The raid targeted a large house in Atmeh in the Idlib region of Syria where the ISIS leader was hiding. The two-story house was left with its top floor shattered and blood spattered inside. A journalist on assignment for The Associated Press and several residents noted that they saw body parts scattered near the site.
Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurashi, also known as Abdullah Qardash or Hajji Abdullah, became the leader of the ISIS terrorist organization after former leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi also blew himself up in a similar raid by U.S. forces in 2019 in the nearby town of Barisha.
It was conducted in a similar style to the raid which resulted in the death of Osama Bin Laden in 2011.
U.S commandos deployed via helicopter under cover of darkness, surrounded the house and ordered women and children to evacuate via loudspeakers, before engaging opposition fighters in combat.
The helicopters then deployed their ordnance following the ground assault, with several strikes reducing large sections of the house to rubble – though some of the damage is believed to have come as a result of the target’s suicide blast.
The mission was successful. There were no U.S. casualties,’ said Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby in a statement.
But local residents and activists said several civilians were killed in the battle, with the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and first responders from Syrian Civil Defense reporting 13 deaths including several women and children.
The top floor of the three-story house was almost totally destroyed; a room there had collapsed, sending white bricks tumbling to the ground below.
The anti-jihadist coalition is led by the United States but its operations feature forces from several countries including the UK, France, Canada and Turkey.