by Thomas Catenacci
A U.S. operation lead to the death of the leader of the Islamic State in northwest Syria late Wednesday evening, the Pentagon said.
The mission resulted in the death of its target, Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi, the known leader of the terror group ISIS, according to the Department of Defense. There were no American casualties and all U.S. forces were safely evacuated.
“U.S. Special Operations forces under the control of U.S. Central Command conducted a counterterrorism mission this evening in northwest Syria,” Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said. “The mission was successful. There were no U.S. casualties. More information will be provided as it becomes available.”
At least 13 people, including six children and four women, were killed during the operation, according to the Syria Civil Defense (SCD), which confirmed the raid on Thursday. SCD personnel arrived to the scene but were unable to get in close proximity due to ongoing clashes until around 3:07 a.m. local time.
A neighbor interviewed by local media described the operation that she said began at 1 a.m., a transcript of the interview tweeted by an investigative reporter for Airwars showed. She said members of her family were forced out of their home and she was handcuffed as the ISIS leader’s house was attacked.
Senior Biden administration officials indicated that al-Qurayshi detonated a suicide bomb during the raid, leading to the death of his family members, according to Bloomberg News reporter Jennifer Jacobs.
“Last night at my direction, U.S. military forces in the northwest Syria successfully undertook a counterterrorism operation to protect the American people and our Allies, and make the world a safer place,” President Joe Biden said in a statement Thursday.
“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,” the president said. “All Americans have returned safely from the operation.”
During remarks Thursday morning, Biden confirmed that al-Qurayshi blew himself up “in a final act of desperate cowardice.”
In October 2019, ISIS named al-Qurayshi its leader after U.S. forces killed the group’s founder Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, The Guardian reported.
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Thomas Catenacci is a reporter at Daily Caller News Foundation.