US confirms death of Islamic State leader in Syria operation

Operação ocorreu na província de Idlib, o último reduto dos insurgentes no noroeste da Síria

Operation took place in the province of Idlib, the last stronghold of the insurgents in northwest Syria | Photo: EFE/EPA/YAHYA NEMAH

The President of the States Joe Biden confirmed this Thursday (3) that the leader of the Islamic State (IS) Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi, died during an anti-terrorist operation carried out the night before in northwest Syria.

“Last night, under my direction, US military forces in northwest Syria conducted a successful counter-terrorist operation (…) thanks to the skill and courage of our Armed Forces, we were able to remove Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi from the battlefield,” Biden said in a statement.

However, in a speech at the White House hours later, Biden said al-Qurayshi died in an explosion he caused. even during the American operation.

“As our troops approached to capture the terrorist, in a At the end of desperate cowardice and not caring about the lives of his own family or others in the building, he decided to blow himself up,” Biden said.

Al Qurayshi did not “simply use a vest” with explosives, but decided to “blow up” the third floor of the building where he was hiding, “killing several members of the his family with him”, added the president.

“Knowing that this terrorist had surrounded himself with family members, including children, we made the decision to carry out a special forces strike, something much riskier for our own people, rather than launching an air strike,” Biden explained.

The president did not confirm the death toll during the operation, which according to the so-called White Helmets, a rescue group which operates in opposition-controlled areas of Syria, has left 13 victims, including six children.

However, he implied that all the civilian deaths were due to Al Qurayshi’s actions and assured that the operation “sent a clear message to terrorists around the world”. “We will go after you and find you,” Biden said of the jihadists.

The operation took place in a building in the Atme area of ​​Idlib province in northwestern Syria, and US forces were able to remove the family who lived on the first floor before the operation began, US officials said.

After Al Qurayshi detonated the explosive charge, the elite team went into action. crossfire with another unidentified “IS terrorist” who lived on the second floor, who ended up dying along with his wife, officials said, who requested anonymity.