President Biden has confirmed the death of Islamic State leader Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi, who reportedly died as U.S. warplanes, helicopters and special forces assaulted a residential compound in northwest Syria Thursday. Biden blamed Qurayshi for the deaths of at least 13 people — including women and children — who were killed during Thursday’s early-morning raid.
President Joe Biden: “As our troops approached to capture the terrorist, in a final act of desperate cowardness, he — with no regard to the lives of his own family or others in the building, he chose to blow 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.”
Witnesses described a gruesome scene inside the partially destroyed compound, with six children and four women among the dead. Images showed remnants of U.S.-made explosive devices scattered near the site of the assault. Thursday’s raid came less than a week after Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin directed the military to do more to protect civilians from harm in U.S. drone strikes and other combat operations.