ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – The leader of Islamic State (ISIS) Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi was killed by US special operations forces in an overnight raid in the early hours of Thursday in northwest Syria, President Joe Biden has confirmed.
“Last night at my direction, U.S. military forces successfully undertook a counterterrorism operation. Thanks to the bravery of our Armed Forces, we have removed from the battlefield Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi – the leader of ISIS,” President Biden said in a statement on Thursday.
The killing of the high-ranking leader took place on his property in Atmeh, north of Idlib and just east of the border with Turkey.
The death of Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi comes three years after US special forces killed former ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in a similar-style attack in 2019 in the same area.
On top of Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi, the attack left twelve others dead, including four children and three women, the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) told Rudaw English on Thursday.
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has raised the death toll of children higher, “confirming” that “at least six children were killed and one girl was badly injured overnight.”
Following the operation, the US Defense Department said it was a “successful” mission, with no US casualties. Reports from the ground and footage shared on social media showed a what appeared to be the wreckage of a US helicopter.
Atmeh is also home to a vast camp for families displaced by the decade-long Syrian conflict. Experts have warned that the area was being used by jihadists as a place to hide among civilians.