On Thursday i.e., 3 February 2022, Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi, leader of the Islamic State (IS/ISIS), died in a U.S. counterterrorism operation in Idlib province, in northwestern Syria. Qurayshi exploded a bomb that killed him and some of his family members, including women and children, as U.S. special forces were approaching them.
President Joe Biden announced, “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”. Speaking at the White House, Mr. Biden said: “We all remember the gut wrenching stories, mass slaughters that wiped out entire villages, thousands of women and young girls sold into slavery, rape used a weapon of war,” and that “this horrible terrorist leader is no more”. Mr. Biden also said the U.S. counterterrorism operation sent a strong message to terrorists around the world. “We will come after you and find you.” Mr. Biden thanked the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, U.S. forces and their families.
The American press reported that Reports also said there was a two-hour gun-battle after U.S. forces landed in helicopters and targeted a house outside Atmeh, near the Syira-Turkey border in Idlib.
Biden administration was under fire for killing innocent civilians, including children, in a drone strike in Kabul in August. But this time, being aware of the fact that Qurayshi had surrounded himself with children and women, U.S. Special Forces were deployed, at greater risk, rather than using an airstrike for the operation. The Pentagon released a statement saying there were no U.S. casualties.
The White House and Mr. Biden tweeted a photograph of the President, Vice-President and others at a desk, watching the counterterrorism operation.