President Joe Biden said that Isis’ top leader killed in a counterterrorism raid in Syria chose to ‘blow himself up’ rather than ‘face justice’ in a ‘final act of cowardness’
Speaking from the White House on Thursday morning, Biden said thatAbu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi, who was killed the night before, surrounded himself with family and children as US forces carried out the operation.
‘As our troops approached to capture the terrorist, in a final act of desperate cowardice, with no regard to the lives of his own family or others the building, he chose to blow himself up,’ Biden said.
‘He chose to blow himself up, to blow up that third floor rather than face justice with the crimes he has committed, taking several members of his family with him, just as his predecessor did.’
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Biden said that the US chose to carry out a ‘special forces raid at greater risk to our own people’ rather than an airstrike. They took ‘every precaution possible to minimize civilian casualties’, he said.
Biden earlier on Thursday in a statement confirmed thatAbu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi was killed in a military operation on Wednesday night.
He stated: ‘Last night at my direction, US military forces in the northwest Syria successfully undertook a counterterrorism operation to protect the American people and our Allies, and make the world a safer place.
‘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.’
An anonymous senior military source had told Reuters thatAl-Qurayshi detonated a bomb that killed him and some of his family members.
Six children and four women also reportedly died during the raid.
Biden appeared in a situation room photo shared by the White House observing the counterterrorism operation along with Vice President Kamala Harris and members of his national security team.
Al-Qurayshi became leader of the terrorist group after Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was killed in October 2019.
‘Last night’s operation took a major terrorist threat off the battlefield and has sent a strong message to terrorists around the world: we will come after you and find you,’ Biden said.
‘Once again today, we continue our unceasing effort to keep the American people safe and strengthen the security of our allies and partners around the world.’
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