Biden says ISIS leader killed in US raid in Syria

President Biden announced early Thursday that a U.S. raid in Syria on Wednesday killed the leader of the Islamic State terrorist group, Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurashi.

Biden said the operation in northwest Syria was successful and resulted in no American casualties in a statement Thursday morning. In later remarks from the White House, Biden said that al-Qurashi blew up himself and members of his family during the operation in a “final act of desperate cowardice.”

“Last night, operating on my order, the United States military forces successfully removed a major terrorist threat to the world, the global leader of ISIS,” Biden said in prepared remarks from the Roosevelt Room. “This horrible terrorist leader is no more.”

The raid occurred in a residential area in Atmeh near the border between Syria and Turkey. There were no American casualties, but a military helicopter suffered a mechanical issue and U.S. forces made the decision to destroy it, a senior Biden administration official said.

Another senior administration official told reporters that al-Qurashi detonated a “significant blast” that killed himself and several others, including his wife and children, on the third story of the dwelling where the raid took place.

The raid was months in the making, according to the second senior administration official, who said that the president was first briefed over a month ago by operational commanders. Biden gave the final order to conduct the operation during an Oval Office meeting Tuesday morning with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mark Milley.

Officials said the raid also took out an ISIS lieutenant, who barricaded himself on the second floor of the building and engaged in a firefight with U.S. forces.

The Biden administration has not specific the exact number of casualties in the raid. The White Helmets, a Syrian civil defense group, reported that at least 13 bodies were found, including six children and four women, but the senior administration official said that some of the reported death tolls “do not align with our information.” The Pentagon is conducting an assessment of the casualties.

Officials said that a family and multiple children were taken out of the home safely during the raid.

The second senior administration official said that al-Qurashi appeared to purposefully live in a residential building with other families that did not have a connection to ISIS.

“He used these innocent people as a shield,” the official said.

The raid was large in scale, reportedly involved some two dozen U.S. forces as well as military helicopters that hovered over the building. The first senior administration official said that the operation spanned two hours on the ground.

The Pentagon disclosed the raid by U.S. special operations forces late Wednesday evening, describing it as “successful” and saying that there were no American casualties.

It drew comparisons to the 2019 raid that killed Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, al-Qurashi’s predecessor, during the Trump administration. Baghdadi killed himself during that raid by detonating a suicide vest in a tunnel in northwest Syria.

The White House released a photo on Twitter of Biden, Vice President Harris and members of their national security team observing the raid in the situation room, where officials said they monitored the raid as it played out.

Updated at 12:29 p.m.

Tags Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurashi Biden ISIS ISIS Islamic State Joe Biden John Kirby Lloyd Austin Mark Milley raid Syria Syria US military

Copyright 2023 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

See all Hill.TV See all Video

Most Popular

Load more


See all Video