U.S. Special Ops Raid Leads To Death Of ISIS Leader
U.S. military forces “successfully” moved in on the global leader of ISIS, also known as Haji Abdullah, President Biden said Thursday. Al-Qurayshi took over as the leader of the Islamic State in 2019 after the U.S. counterterrorism operation that killed Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
Senior administration officials said al-Qurayshi detonated explosives, which killed himself, his wife, and the children in their residence. Officials believe he chose to live in a building with many residential families with no link to ISIS, on purpose.
Officials said that the planning for Thursday’s operation “was on the level and scale of the bin Laden raid,” noting that the target never left his compound and only occasionally went to his rooftop to bathe.
Biden was first briefed in December and gave the order to go ahead with the operation early Tuesday morning in the Oval Office, where his national security team and commanders presented options.
In early December, commanders presented their assessment of the operation, officials said the raid was considered as a “significant risk,” and assessed it to be “incredibly complex and dangerous.”
Biden said that he opted for a commando raid using ground forces, and not an airstrike in hopes of limiting casualties in the residential compound.
Biden said Thursday he directed the Department of Defense to take “every precaution possible to minimize civilian casualties,” noting that the special forces raid presented “a much greater risk to our own people” than an airstrike.
White House officials said al-Qurayshi cowardly detonated explosives, which killed him, his wife, and several children on the third floor during the commando operation.
An official said that from a “tactical” perspective, the operation went “precisely as expected.”
“The goal here was to remove Abdullah from the battlefield,” the official said. “And that was successful.”
The president, on Thursday, thanked U.S. forces, who he said: “carried out the operation with their signature preparation and precision.”
The president praised the “immense courage and skill and determination” of U.S. forces who “skillfully executed this incredibly challenging mission.”