Biden Says ISIS Leader Quraishi Killed in Syria Raid

  • Biden says ISIS leader Quraishi killed in raid
  • Quraishi blew himself up, also killing his family
  • Biden says the United States took steps to minimize harm to civilians
  • Northwest Syria is a refuge for various jihadist groups

AMMAN/WASHINGTON, Feb 3 (Reuters) – A U.S. military incursion into northwestern Syria overnight killed the leader of the Islamic State jihadist group, President Joe Biden said on Thursday, in an operation he said showed the determination of Washington to persecute terrorist groups.

Abu Ibrahim al-Hashemi al-Quraishi had led the Islamic State since the 2019 death of its founder Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who was also killed when he detonated explosives during a raid by US commandos.

“Thanks to the bravery of our troops, this horrible terrorist leader is no more,” Biden said in remarks at the White House, adding that US forces took every possible precaution to minimize civilian casualties.

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As US troops closed in on the target, Quraishi blew himself up and also killed members of his own family, including women and children, according to Biden and US officials.

Neither Biden nor US officials briefing reporters provided a death toll, but Syrian rescuers said at least 13 people were killed, including four women and six children.

Biden and US officials described Quraishi as the “driving force” behind the 2014 genocide of the Yazidi minority in northern Iraq, saying he oversaw a network of Islamic State branches from Africa to Afghanistan.

“Last night’s operation removed a major terrorist leader from the battlefield and sent a strong message to terrorists around the world: We will come after you and we will find you,” Biden said.

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Residents of the town of Atmeh, near the Turkish border, said helicopters landed and loud gunshots and explosions were heard during the raid that began around midnight. US forces used loudspeakers to warn women and children to leave the area, they said.

US military procedures for protecting against civilian casualties are under scrutiny following a high-profile misguided drone strike in Afghanistan that the Pentagon initially called a success.

Since its defeat on the battlefield nearly three years ago, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, also known as ISIS, has carried out insurgent attacks in Iraq and Syria. The most recent was last month when his fighters stormed a prison in northeastern Syria that housed Islamic State suspects.

Local leaders, security officials and residents of northern Iraq say it has re-emerged as a deadly threat, helped by a lack of central control in many areas.

Quraishi, a 45-year-old Iraqi, had remained largely in the shadows since succeeding Baghdadi, who led the group at the height of his self-proclaimed caliphate, when he controlled swathes of Syria and Iraq and ruled millions of people.

“The killing of Quraishi is a big deal and a big blow to ISIS because ISIS never knew about this new leader,” Syrian analyst Hassan Hassan said. “I think that ISIS will remain weak and under pressure as long as the Americans are on the ground in Iraq and Syria and are involved, because the US.

Quraishi was hiding in a region of Syria that is home to several militant groups, including Huras al-Din (Guardians of Religion), an al Qaeda-affiliated faction whose leaders include foreign fighters.

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US forces have for years used drones to target jihadists in the area, but Thursday’s operation appeared to be the largest by US forces in the northwest since the raid that killed al-Baghdadi, said Charles Lister, a senior researcher. Middle East headquartered in Washington. Institute.

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Additional reporting by Timour Azhari in Beirut, Susan Heavey, Trevor Hunnicutt, Phil Stewart, Steve Holland, and Humeyra Pamuk in Washington; Written by Humeyra Pamuk, Tom Perry and Dominic Evans; Edited by Angus MacSwan and Daniel Wallis

Our standards: the Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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