Biden says ISIS leader killed during U.S. raid in Syria
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The leader of the violent Islamic State group was killed during an overnight raid carried out by U.S. special forces in Syria’s northwestern Idlib province, President Joe Biden said Thursday.
The raid targeted Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi, who took over as head of the militant 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 himself and members of his family, including women and children, as U.S. forces approached.
The operation came as IS has been trying for a resurgence, with a series of attacks in the region, including an assault late last month to seize a prison in northeast Syria holding at least 3,000 IS detainees, it’s boldest operation in years.
"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 assaulted a house in a rebel-held corner of Syria, clashing for two hours with gunmen, witnesses said. Residents described continuous gunfire and explosions that jolted the town of Atmeh near the Turkish border, an area dotted with camps for internally displaced people from Syria’s civil war.
Biden said he ordered U.S. forces to “take every precaution available to minimize civilian casualties," adding that was why they chose not to conduct an airstrike on the home.
First responders reported that 13 people had been killed, including six children and four women.