WASHINGTON, D.C. – ISIS leader Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi reportedly detonated an explosive vest he was wearing – blowing up himself, his wife, their six children, and potentially other relatives – in order to escape certain capture or death at the hands of U.S. commandos who were closing in on his northwest Syria house on Thursday.
President Joe Biden and the Pentagon both confirmed the terrorist leader’s death in the village of Atmeh during the American-lead raid, which was said to be on-par with the size of the raid on Usama bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan in 2011.
“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 and I directed the Department of Defense to take every precaution possible to minimize civilian casualties.”
Biden called Al-Qurayshi’s decision to escape justice by blowing himself and his family up an act of “cowardice,” and said that there had been no U.S. casualties during the raid.
“We do know that as our troops approached to capture the terrorist, in a final act of desperate cowardice – with no regard to the lives of his own family or others in the building – he chose to blow himself up, not just with the vest, but to blow up that third floor rather than face justice for the crimes he has committed, taking several members of his family with him,” Biden said.
U.S. officials say that Al-Qurayshi always remained in his house – bathing on the rooftop on occasion – and directed ISIS’ global terror network via couriers, in addition to a lieutenant who resided on the second floor.
It is reported that U.S. forced carried out a large ground assault Thursday, using loudspeakers to inform local residents to evacuate the area in order to minimize the change for collateral damage. After about 45 minutes, the force began to open fire with machine guns; eventually, a loud explosion as reported, which destroyed the house Al-Qurayshi was residing in.
Some civilian casualties were reported, but there is currently dispute over if they were killed accidently by U.S. forces or from the detonation of Al-Qurayshi’s suicide vest.
Al-Qurayshi was the leader of ISIS since October 2019.