Islamic State leader Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi was killed during an overnight raid by American special forces in Syria’s Atme village, The Guardian reported on Thursday. Thirteen persons, including civilians, died in the attack.
President Joe Biden said that the team was still working on a report on how the events unfolded, CNN reported. He added that al-Qurayshi “chose to blow himself up” as he was on the verge of being captured. His family members also reportedly died in the attack. The Pentagon will review the operation.
Biden said that the American military forces carried out a counterterrorism operation in northwest Syria at his directions, according to a statement released by the White House
The president added the Islamic State leader was “taken off the battlefield.” Biden said all American personnel involved in the operation returned safely.
According to The Guardian, the residents of the Syrian village were woken up at 3 am by the sound of helicopters. An announcement in Arabic over a loudspeaker gave the occupants 15 minutes to surrender. Explosions and gunfights ensued soon after.
Medical workers who went to the spot said three bodies were found.
An unidentified senior administration official said that attack appeared to be the same cowardly terrorist tactic” that the United States “saw in the 2019 operation that eliminated al-Baghdadi [Islamic State founder Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi]”.
After Baghdadi was killed in 2019, the group named al-Qurayshi as the successor, according to Reuters.
The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant is also known as the Islamic State or ISIS.