By John Ikani
President Joe Biden said on Thursday that the leader of the Islamic State died during a raid by US Special Operations commandos in a risky pre-dawn attack in northwest Syria.
“Thanks to the bravery our troops, this horrible terrorist leader is no more,” Biden said in an address delivered from the Roosevelt Room of the White House.
“Last night operating on my orders, United States military forces successfully removed a major terrorist threat to the world,” Biden said.
As US forces closed in, Al-Qurayshi detonated a suicide bomb “in a final act of desperate cowardice,” Biden said.
The blast killed not only the ISIS leader but also his wife and children, a senior administration official said.
This is the same terrorist tactic of his predecessor,” Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the official said, “taking his own life and his own family rather than face justice or stand and fight on his own.”
A deputy of al-Qurayshi and his wife were also killed after attacking US forces, the official said.
“Both these terrorist leaders murdered their own families,” the official said. “In this case, the blast was so large on the third floor that it blew bodies outside of the house and into the surrounding areas.”
Biden who noted that all US Forces emerged safe from the raid, added that al-Qurayshi was responsible for the recent attack on a prison in Syria holding ISIS fighters and called him the “driving force” behind the genocide of the Yazidis in northern Iraq.
Biden was briefed on the operation more than a month ago when it was determined that al-Qurayshi was living at the site, and again this week.
He gave the go-ahead on Tuesday morning, with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mark Milley in the Oval Office.
Biden and Vice President Harris monitored the two-hour operation in real-time in the situation room. It ran according to plan, like “clockwork,” an official said.