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The leader of the Islamic State group, Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi, died in an overnight raid by U.S. special forces in northwest Syria, President Joe Biden said Thursday.
This was one of the most important counterterrorism operations of his presidency so far, he said.
With “no regard for his own family or anyone else in the building,” the terrorist chose to blow himself up as our troops neared, Vice President Joe Biden said at the White House.
After last night’s operation, he told terrorists around the world that “We will come after you and find you.” Once again, we are working to keep the American people safe and make sure our allies and partners around the world are safe, too.
In the operation, al-Qurayshi is said to have caused an explosion that killed himself and his wife and children. The blast was so strong that bodies were thrown outside of the house, a senior administration official said, per the New York Times.
The official said that al-deputy Qurayshi’s and his wife were also killed when they tried to fight U.S. forces. There were no U.S. deaths.
A U.S. airstrike killed Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who was the leader of ISIS until al-Qurayshi took over in October 2019. Al-Qurayshi was named ISIS leader after al-Baghdadi was killed in the airstrike.
U.S. officials said he was in charge of ISIS activities in Iraq and Syria, and the group was trying to get back together under his leadership.
Biden said al-Qurayshi was behind a recent attack on a prison in Syria where ISIS fighters were being held. He also played a big role in the 2014 genocide of thousands of Yazidis in Iraq.
The official said that al-death Qurayshi’s “is going to cause a lot of trouble for ISIS.” There are only a few people left who are “legacy leaders,” and this is part of a long-running effort to get rid of ISIS’s top people.
In December, Vice President Biden was given a detailed briefing about where al-Qurayshi was hiding and how difficult it would be to carry out the operation because civilians were living in the house, an official said.
The operation took months to plan, and Biden was kept up to date on the progress of the planning.
On Tuesday morning, Vice President Kamala Harris and other members of Biden’s national security team gave the final go-ahead for the operation, which lasted two hours.
On Wednesday night, Vice President Harris and other members of Biden’s national security team were in the Situation Room, where they watched developments in real-time until the team of U.S. special forces had left the site.
Biden said that the goal of the operation was to keep civilians out of harm’s way, which is why U.S. forces chose to raid the building rather than use an airstrike because intelligence suggested that civilians were also living there.
One family was evacuated before the raid, and four children were taken away from the site after the raid, an official said, per the AP.
Joe Biden said that thanks to the bravery of our troops, “this horrible terrorist leader is no more.” With their trademark preparation and precision, our forces carried out the operation.
I told the Department of Defense that they should take all the steps they could to keep civilians safe.
If al-Qurayshi used the same strategy as his predecessor and detonated explosives on the third floor where he was living, US officials thought that it wouldn’t cause the whole building to fall and kill people on the lower floors.
All of the people who died at the site were killed because of al-Qurayshi, an official said.
People in the area and first responders say that 13 people, including women and children, were killed in the raid. U.S. officials didn’t say if that figure was true.
A U.S. official told NBC News that a military helicopter had a problem with maintenance while it was in use. A mile away from its goal, it was safe to land, but it was too dangerous to fly back and was detonated on-site, an official said.
Biden gave a short speech from the White House on Thursday to mark the victory in the fight against ISIS.
It’s not clear if the White House will try to get the same political benefit from the military victory as President Trump did when al-predecessor, Qurayshi’s al-Baghdadi, was killed.
Trump would often use the killing of al-Baghdadi as an applause line at campaign rallies and in campaign ads. He also talked about the military achievement in the ads.
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An injured dog became a little celebrity among Trump supporters after the al-Baghdadi raid. The then-president took the dog to the White House for a party when he was still in office.