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Isis leader killed - latest news: Biden says Qurayshi killing is warning to terrorists

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Gustaf Kilander
Washington, DC
Thursday 03 February 2022 18:28 GMT
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Biden announces Isis leader has been killed

President Joe Biden announced on Thursday that US Special Forces killed the leader of the Islamic State during a raid in northwest Syria.

Rescue workers have said that women and children are among the 13 people who died in the raid.

Mr Biden said in a statement that the leader of the terrorist group was killed. He has been identified by ISIS as Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi.

The leader reportedly died at the start of the raid when he discharged an explosive that killed him as well as members of his family.

“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,” Mr Biden said in his statement. “All Americans have returned safely from the operation.”

Two dozen American special forces conducted the raid with the support of helicopter gunships, armed drones, and fighter jets, according to The New York Times.

Al-Qurayshi succeeded Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as ISIS leader after al-Baghdadi was killed during a US raid in October 2019.

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Joe Biden’s full statement on raid that killed ISIS leader

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

“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. I will deliver remarks to the American people later this morning. May God protect our troops,” he added.

Gustaf Kilander3 February 2022 13:49
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Islamic State leader killed as US special forces target suspected jihadists in Syria

The announcement of al-Qurayshi’s death came following a “large-scale” counterterrorism raid in the town of Idlib, home to several top al-Qaeda operatives and senior members of the Islamic State. Former Isis chief Abu Bakr al Baghdadi was killed in a Trump-era raid, also on Idlib in 2019.

The deadly overnight led to other casualties, with first responders telling The Independent that 13 people had been killed, including six children and four women.

The opposition-run Syrian Civil Defence, also known as the White Helmets, said the victimd were killed in shelling and battle that followed after the US commando raid.

They said that the raid went on for three hours and they managed to rescue an injured child whose entire family had been killed in the operation.

Footage apparently taken at the scene in the quiet village of Atmeh near to the Turkish border showed men digging through the rubble of a partially destroyed two-storey house.

Read more:

Islamic State leader killed as US special forces target suspected jihadists in Syria

As many as 13 people died in the raids in Idlib, northwest Syria, say witnesses

Bel Trew3 February 2022 13:56
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UNICEF: At least six children killed in northwest Syria overnight

The UN children’s aid agency UNICEF has said that at least six children were killed in northwest Syria overnight.

Bertrand Bainvel, the acting UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa, said in a statement that the agency has confirmed that “at least six children were killed and one girl was badly injured overnight in the border town of Atmeh in the northwest of Syria due to heavy violence”.

“According to reports, civilian-populated areas were severely damaged,” he said. “Since the year began, violence has heavily escalated in and around Idlib in Syria’s northwest, home to 1.2 million children in need of assistance.”

“Many families in the area are internally displaced, having fled violence in other parts of Syria over the years,” he added. “Last year, nearly 70 per cent of grave violations recorded against children in Syria occurred in the northwest.”

“This recent increase in violence comes amid freezing weather conditions and record sub-zero temperatures in Syria and the region,” Mr Bainvel continued. “At least five Syrian children died in the north of Syria due to harsh winter conditions in the past two weeks alone”.

Gustaf Kilander3 February 2022 14:11
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Photos show devastation following US raid that led to ISIS leader’s death

People inspect a destroyed house following an operation by the U.S. military in the Syrian village of Atmeh, in Idlib province, Syria, Thursday, Feb. 3, 2022

People inspect a destroyed house following an operation by the U.S. military in the Syrian village of Atmeh, in Idlib province, Syria, Thursday, Feb. 3, 2022

Blood covers the floor of a destroyed house after an operation by the U.S. military in the Syrian village of Atmeh in Idlib province, Syria, Thursday, Feb. 3, 2022

Military devices are shown outside a destroyed house after an operation by the U.S. military in the Syrian village of Atmeh in Idlib province, Syria, Thursday, Feb. 3, 2022

A child shows an empty bullet shell outside a destroyed house after an operation by the U.S. military in the Syrian village of Atmeh, in Idlib province, Syria, Thursday, Feb. 3, 2022

A Syrian man rides his motorcycle along damaged shops after an operation by the U.S. military in the Syrian village of Atmeh in Idlib province, Syria, Thursday, Feb. 3, 2022

A damaged room and windows are seen inside a house after an operation by the U.S. military in the Syrian village of Atmeh in Idlib province, Syria, Thursday, Feb. 3, 2022

People check at a destroyed house after an operation by the U.S. military in the Syrian village of Atmeh, in Idlib province, Syria, Thursday, Feb. 3, 2022

Gustaf Kilander3 February 2022 14:28
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Death of ISIS leader major blow to terror group, analysts say

The US raid that killed ISIS leader Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi was conducted days after the end of the most substantial US combat period with the Islamic State since its’ so-called caliphate collapsed three years ago.

US armed forces supported a militia led by Kurdish fighters in northeastern Syria to take out ISIS terrorists who had gained control of a prison in the city of Hasaka, according to The New York Times.

The raid that killed the terrorist leader resembled that of the mission that led to the death of his predecessor, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, in October 2019.

While not much is known about al-Qurayshi, observers have said that his death will have a significant impact on the terrorist group.

Gustaf Kilander3 February 2022 14:47
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How the raid unfolded

Helicopters brought US special forces to the house of the ISIS leader after midnight in Atmeh, a town that’s close to the Turkish border.

A lengthy standoff then took place, with speakers issuing warnings in Arabic urging everyone in the residential building to surrender, according to people living in the area.

Combat began after two hours when those inside the house had refused to leave. The battle included machine gun fire and a blast that damaged the house, taking out some of its walls and windows.

One of the US helicopters had a mechanical malfunction during the siege and was abandoned and destroyed.

Witnesses say that the US forces left the area after about three hours. The timeline and version of events may change as further reports emerge.

Gustaf Kilander3 February 2022 15:17
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Witnesses share firsthand experience of US operation that led to death of Isis leader

Residents of the sleepy village of Atmeh where a US raid killed Isis leader Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi Qurashi, told The Independent that they were woken after midnight by the sounds of helicopters above them.

Terrified and alone with her mother and sister, Sima, 22 (not her real name) said they moved away from the windows as a precaution.

“We heard a voice from loudspeakers saying the women and children should get out of the house that was being targeted. But we didn’t know which house was the target,” she said sharing audio she recorded of the helicopters and her panicked relatives. “We heard the sound of clashes and fighting. First the aircraft, then the sound of shelling then at 2am what sounded like machine guns from the helicopter. It went on until past 3 o’clock.”

She said that they also heard what sounded like six airstrikes. Her family, who are internally displaced from another part of Syria, did not know who was living in the three-storey house that had been hit.

“Most of the second floor is now missing, inside there was a lot of destruction,” she said. Videos taken from the scene and shared online showed blood-smeared walls.

The opposition-run Syrian Civil Defence, also known as the White Helmets, told The Independent that, in total, 13 people were killed, including six children and four women, in the shelling and fighting that followed.

They said that the raid went on for three hours and they managed to rescue an injured child whose entire family had been killed in the operation.

Unicef also confirmed that six children had been killed in the raid and added that one girl was badly injured.

An Iraqi intelligence official, who had knowledge of the raid told The Independent, that al-Qurashi blew up a suicide belt he was wearing during the raid.

The official, who could not be named as he is not authorised to speak to the media, said that Iraqi intelligence services had played a “pivotal” role in the attack.

“About seven aircraft were used including drones and a helicopter,” he said.

“Qurashi barricaded himself in using his family,” he added.

Bel Trew3 February 2022 15:37
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Biden says ‘we remain vigilant’ following death of Isis leader

Speaking on Thursday after the operation that led to the death of the leader of Isis, President Joe Biden said: “We remain vigilant. We remain prepared.”

“Last night’s operation took a major terrorist leader off the battlefield, and it sent a strong message to terrorists around the world – We will come after you and find you,” he added.

Gustaf Kilander3 February 2022 15:57
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‘We were worried it could be Syrian aircraft,’ refugee camp resident says

In one video shared online, a man who claimed to be a neighbour said that he heard soldiers tell the women and children to leave the house first. They said there were body parts scattered near the site of the raid.

The raid was in an area largely controlled by Turkish-backed fighters but is also an al-Qaeda stronghold and home to several of its top operatives. Other militants, including extremists from the rival Isis group, have also sought refuge in the region.

Jamil el-Deddo, a resident of a nearby refugee camp told The Associated Press that the first moments were “terrifying, no one knew what was happening”.

“We were worried it could be Syrian aircraft, which brought back memories of barrel bombs that used to be dropped on us,” he added, referring to crude explosives-filled containers used by President Bashar Assad’s forces against opponents during the Syrian conflict.

The top floor of the house was almost totally destroyed in Thursday’s raid, with the ceiling and walls knocked out.

Bel Trew3 February 2022 16:17
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Biden says al-Qurayshi killing is warning to enemies: ‘We will come after you’

President Joe Biden said that the United States’ counterterrorism operation that killed Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi was a clear message that the United States would go after those who threaten the United States and its allies.

The president’s remarks come after the Pentagon said that it carried out a “large-scale” counterterrorism raid in Syria that killed 13 people, including six children and four women.

“We remain vigilant. We remain prepared,” the president said at the White House. “Last night’s operation took a major terrorist leader off the battlefield, and it sent a strong message to terrorists around the world – We will come after you and find you.”

Mr Biden noted that al-Qurayshi was responsible for the genocide of the Yazidi people in Northwestern Iraq in 2014.

The president said that he directed the Department of Defence to take every precaution possible to minimize civilian casualties.

“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,” he said. “We made this choice to minimise civilian casualties.”

Mr Biden said that the United States was still compiling a report but that it does know that as troops approached to capture al-Qurayshi, he blew himself up.

“Not just with a vest but to blow up that third floor rather than face justice for the crimes he has committed taking several members of his family with him, just as his predecessor did,” Mr Biden said. al-Qurayshi succeeded Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who died in a similar US operation in October 2019.

Eric Garcia, Bel Trew3 February 2022 16:37

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