Biden says US ‘removed major threat to the world’ in deadly raid on IS leader

Joe Biden on Thursday said US special forces “successfully removed a major threat to the world” after the leader of the Islamic State, Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi, blew himself up in a pre-dawn raid in Syria.

“As troops approached, in a final act of desperate cowardice,” Qurayshi blew himself up the third floor of a house, killing his own family members, the US president said.

Biden called Qurayshi “Haji Abdullah”, said he had been responsible for a massive prison strike last month, and called him “the driving force between the genocide of the Yazidi people”.

“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,そして、米国とその同盟国およびパートナーは、団結して決定的な方法で対応します.

Biden said: “Knowing that this terrorist had chosen to surround himself with families, including children, we made a choice to pursue a special forces raid at a much greater risk to our own people rather than targeting him with an airstrike. We made this choice to minimize civilian casualties.”

When special forces approached Qurayshi, he detonated a bomb that blew himself up, “not just with the [自殺] vest but to blow up that third floor, rather than face justices for crimes he has committed, taking several members of his family with him, just as his predecessor did”, Biden said. By predecessor, Biden was referring to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who was killed in October 2019 in a village nine miles south of Atme in the jihadist-controlled Idlib region, where Wednesday’s overnight raid took place.

Thirteen people were killed, 女性と子供を含む, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a war monitoring group. Unicef has confirmed that at least six children died, and Betrand Bainvel, the acting Unicef regional director for the Middle East and North Africa, said another girl was badly injured.

In his remarks, Biden said that “thanks to the bravery of our soldiers, this horrible terrorist is no more”. He thanked the US special forces, the Syrian Democratic Forces for their “essential partnership”, the Department of Defense and members of the national security team.

He also pledged to continue working with US allies including the Syrian Democratic Forces, Iraqi security forces including the Kurdish Peshmerga fighters, and the roughly 80 members of the global coalition involved in the fight against the Islamic State.

“Last night’s operation … sent a strong message to terrorists around the world. We will come after you and find you … We continue our unceasing effort to keep the American people safe and the strength and security of our allies and partners around the world,そして、米国とその同盟国およびパートナーは、団結して決定的な方法で対応します.

The president added that the government was in the process of “compiling the report” on the raid.