The United States kills the leader of the Islamic State in an operation in the northwest of Syria

Biden confirms that Al Quraishi blew himself up to avoid capture and caused civilian casualties

The Pentagon says there were no US casualties and claims to have protected more than 10 women, children and babies.


The president of the United States, Joe Biden, announced on Thursday the death of the leader of the Islamic State, Abu Ibrahim al Hashimi al Quraishi, during an operation carried out by US special forces in the Syrian province of Idlib (northwest).

“Last night and under my orders, United States military forces in northwestern Syria successfully conducted a counterterrorism operation to protect the American people and our allies and make the world a safer place,” he said.

“Thanks to the capabilities and courage of our Armed Forces, we have removed Abu Ibrahim al Hashimi al Quraishi, the leader of the Islamic State, from the battlefield,” Biden said in a brief statement released by the White House after the operation.

In a subsequent appearance before the media, the president acknowledged that it was a “complicated” intervention, in which it was decided to deploy special forces instead of an air attack to “minimize” collateral damage. However, and although “all precautions” were taken, several civilians reportedly lost their lives.

For his part, the top general of the Central Command, General Frank McKenzie, has detailed that the main objective of the operation was to “capture the leader of the Islamic State.”

Biden has assured that it was Al Quraishi who decided to be “surrounded” by civilians, including children, and has confirmed that he blew himself up before being captured and “facing justice” for the crimes committed”, as his predecessor also did in his day. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

“The lives of his own relatives or other people in the building did not matter to him,” said the US president, who is still waiting to learn all the details of an operation that Washington has classified as successful.

Biden has warned that the United States will remain “vigilant” against terrorism. “Last night’s operation (…) sends a strong message to terrorists around the world: we will go after you and find you,” he said in a brief speech without questions.

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The Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, has celebrated that this operation is “a significant victory in the global fight to disorganize and dismantle the Islamic State”.

“Al Quraishi’s death deals a significant blow to Islamic State. Now the United States and our partners in the Global Coalition to Defeat Islamic State will continue the effort. Our goal is lasting defeat (…) and that fight continues.” , has settled.


Al Qurayshi was on the third floor of the building when US forces arrived, having assessed whether detonating explosives would not cause the entire structure to collapse and kill others on lower floors, a US official has said, as as collected by the American network NBC News.

In that sense, he explained that the third floor has been completely destroyed after an incident, while the second and first suffered significant damage. The explosion would have also killed Al Quraysi’s wife and two children.

An Idlib-based activist, Taher al-Omar, has pointed out that as part of the US operation, clashes broke out between fighters in the area and special operations forces.

Residents and activists in the area described seeing a large ground assault, with US forces using loudspeakers asking women and children to leave, according to CBS News.


For its part, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has indicated that thirteen people, including four children, have died in the framework of the operation in Idlib province and has added that it was carried out between midnight and 3:30 a.m. ( local time).

The organization, based in London and informants in the Arab country, has highlighted that the United States has sent its special forces to the Atmé area, near the border with Turkey, and has added that “the death of thirteen people, including four children and three women, has been verified and confirmed”.

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Thus, the NGO Save The Children has shown its sorrow for these deaths, which it has described as “unacceptable”. “Children should never be reduced to collateral damage,” he has stated on his social networks, where he has also demanded “an urgent investigation” of what happened.

However, Blinken has stressed that the operation has been carried out with “extraordinary care to protect innocent lives and avoid casualties of non-combatants”, but has regretted that the Islamic State has revealed its “contempt for human life” when Al Quraishi “chose detonate a suicide bomb.

The operation was launched days after the Kurdish security forces regained control of the Ghueiran prison, in Hasaka province (northeast), after nearly a week of clashes with the Islamic State, which launched an assault to try to free hundreds of group members detained at the facility.

In fact, as reported at a press conference by Pentagon spokesman John Kirby, Al Quraishi would have been involved in this escape, as well as in the “massacre and rape of innocent Yazidis” in 2014.

Despite the death of civilians –without specifying the number–, he has transferred that “the calculated efforts of the United States forces have managed to protect more than ten women, children and babies” and has added that there have been no casualties between the American ranks.

In this regard, Kirby explained that the US forces warned the people inside the building with a megaphone to leave, so these ten people would have been safely evacuated.

It has also reported that at the end of the operation, which has lasted approximately two hours, a small group of “hostile” individuals have approached the compound. Kirby has reported that two of them were killed and the others left the area.

Al Quraishi took office at the head of the Islamic State after the death of the previous head of the jihadist group, Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, in a similar operation carried out in October 2019 by special forces in Idlib province, near the border. with Turkey.


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