US President Joe Biden confirms that US Special Operations forces under US Central Command have killed ISIS leader Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi, during a counterterrorism mission in Idlib, northwest Syria. The terrorist, also known as Amir Muhammad Sa’id Abdal-Rahman al-Mawla, took over the terrorist organization in 2019 after Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was killed in an operation conducted by the US Army’s Delta Force in Syria. He was said to have killed himself with a bomb when the US Forces were closing in on his house.

This report comes after ISIS has been trying to rebuild itself by trying to attack and control a prison in northeast Syria in an attempt to release over 3,000 ISIS incarcerated members, including high-ranking officials. Ten days of gunfire ensued between the ISIS fighters and the US-backed Kurdish forces resulting in a win for the Kurds. However, 120 Kurdish fighters were killed, and 374 ISIS fighters perished during the assault.

US intelligence pointed toward a two-story house in western Syria was the hideout of al-Qurayshi, a town near the border of Turkey. Reports have shown that the hideout’s top floor was totally destroyed, with the ground floor also partially collapsing. Blood could be seen on the remaining structure after the raid was conducted.

It was reported that no US military personnel was killed during the raid. However, Syrian news outlets are claiming that 13 were killed, including four children and two women, quoting members of the Syrian Civil Defense called the White Helmets. US personnel had warned the people within the house before firing. A local resident witnessed a man speaking Arabic talking through a megaphone saying women and children should evacuate the area.

The building was said to be occupied by several individuals, apart from al-Qurayshi, who were also suspected to be ISIS members. It was said that a widow and her son lived on the 3rd floor, while the widow’s brother lived on the second floor with his wife and children. They were killed during the raid, with the third floor being completely destroyed.

A report from ABC News confirms that civilian casualties were not from US forces. The explosion that killed said civilians came from an explosive device in the control of the targets, which would signify a malfunction with the explosive or a suicide attempt upon knowing the US forces were closing in.

Reports have also surfaced that a US helicopter used in the mission had broken down during the execution of the raid and was said to be mechanically unrepairable during that time. US Special Forces blew up the aircraft on the ground.

President Joe Biden, who was observing the raid with Vice President Kamala Harris in the situation room, was said to be very pleased about the result of the raid. The success of the assault is also impressive as the Idlib province is known to be a safe haven for extremists and was hard to execute missions in. The killing of al-Qurayshi in Atmeh has effectively decapitated ISIS until a successor is named.

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