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‘Desperate act’: IS leader Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi kills himself and family as US forces close in

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The leader of Islamic State has died after exploding a bomb, killing himself and his family — as US forces closed in.

The leader of Islamic State died by setting off an explosion after two dozen American commandos surrounded his house.

Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi was one of the world’s most wanted men and the leader of the militant Islamist group.

US attack helicopters ferried the US commandos to the home in Atmeh in northwest Syria in the risky pre-dawn raid after intelligence revealed the IS leader’s location.

There was a tense stand-off, with loudspeakers blaring warnings in Arabic for everyone in the house to surrender, neighbours told the New York Times. An explosion then rocked the building.

US President Joe Biden said Thursday that the leader of the Islamic State group had been “taken off the battlefield” by US forces in Syria.

“Last night at my direction, US military forces in northwest Syria successfully undertook a counter-terrorism operation to protect the American people and our allies, and make the world a safer place,” Mr Biden said in a statement.

“Thanks to the skill and bravery of our armed forces, we have taken off the battlefield Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi — the leader of ISIS. All Americans have returned safely from the operation,” Mr Biden added, using another acronym for IS.

al-Qurayshi died when he exploded a bomb, killing himself and members of his family, Mr Biden said.

“We do know as our troops approached to capture the terrorist — in a final act of desperate cowardness [sic] — he, with no regard to the lives of his own family or others in the building, he chose to blow himself up,” Mr Biden said.

“Not just with a vest but … blow up that third floor rather than face justice for the crimes he has committed, taking many of his family with him, just as his predecessor did.”

The Pentagon disclosed the raid by US special operations forces late Wednesday evening, describing it as “successful” and saying that there were no American casualties.

“More information will be provided as it becomes available,” Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said in a brief statement.

Thirteen people, including children and women, were reportedly killed in the counter-terrorism operation, which took place around a two-storey home in Atmeh near the border between Syria and Turkey.

The night-time special forces raid in Syria’s northwestern Idlib region dealt the biggest setback to the jihadist group since Qurashi’s better-known predecessor, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, was killed in a similar operation in 2019.



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