President Joe Biden: ISIS leader Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Quraysh blew himself up during raid, thanks US troops and allies


By Cassie McGrath | [email protected]

In an address on Thursday morning, President Joe Biden said Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Quraysh, the ISIS leader who died in a counterterrorism raid by United States troops in Northern Syria Wednesday blew himself up.

“Thanks to the bravery of our troops this horrible terrorist leader is no more,” Biden said. “Our forces carried out the operation with their signature preparation and precision.”

al-Qurayshi oversaw the spread of ISIS affiliated terrorist groups around the world, Biden said, was responsible for a recent “brutal attack” on a prison in northeast Syria, and was the driving force behind the genocide of the Yazidis people in north western Iraq in 2014.

“We all remember the gut wrenching stories, the mass slaughters that wiped out entire villages. Thousands of women and young girls sold into slavery. Rape used as a weapon of war,” Biden said.

The president claimed that he directed the Department of Defense to take every precaution possible to minimize civilian casualties.

There were no American casualties in the operation, though Syrian civil defense group, the White Helmets, said at least 13 people were killed during and after the raid — including six children and four women.

“Knowing that this terrorist had chosen surround himself with families, including children, we made a choice to pursue a Special Forces raid, at a much greater risk than our to our own people rather than targeting him with an airstrike,” Biden said.

The White House is still finalizing the report but said that al-Qurayshi blew up the third floor of the building, taking his own life as well as those of his family and others in the building.

Biden called this a “final act of desperate cowardness.”

The helicopter-borne assault was carried out by about two dozen American commandos, according to the New York Times, and was backed by helicopter gunships, armed Reaper drones and attack jets, similar to a raid in October 2019.

The president went onto to thank the United States troops who carried out the mission as well as their families.

“The members of our military are the solid steel backbone of this nation, ready to fly into danger at a moment’s notice to keep our country and the American people safe, as well as our allies,” Biden said.

The president added that the raid was aided by a partnership with the Syrian Democratic Forces, and went on to commend the Department of Defense and members of U.S. national security teams who he said worked for months to ensure the mission succeeded.

“This operation is testament to America’s reach and capability to take out terrorist threats, no matter where they try to hide anywhere in the world,” Biden said. “I’m determined to protect the American people from terrorist threats and I’ll take decisive action to protect this country.”

The president also stressed the White House’s strides to keep American people, allies and partners safe all around the world.

“Last night’s operation took a major terrorist leader off the battlefield and has sent a strong message to terrorists around the world. We will come after you and find you,” he said.

Biden concluded the session saying he is headed to New York. The president and Attorney General Merrick Garland will meet with New York City Mayor Eric Adams and Governor Kathy Hochul for Gun Violence Strategies Partnership Meeting.

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