The operation took several months to prepare. The secret services of the United States had detected that one of the most wanted men in the world it was located on the third floor of a building in a city in northeastern Syria.
When the order arrived, special commandos from the United States quickly descended from helicopters and entered the house, where a fierce firefight broke out with several dead, including children. The target, the leader of the terrorist organization ISIS, finally he immolated himself along with several members of his familyWhen he was cornered, President Joe Biden announced this Friday.
Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi had assumed leadership of the militia on October 31, 2019days after leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi also blew himself up during another US raid in the same area.
Biden announced the operation from the White House and gave details of how it had been. He said that al-Qurayshi died in the same way as al-Baghdadi, detonating a bomb himself that also killed members of his family, including women and children, as US forces approached. He was also known as Amir Muhammad Sa’id Abdal-Rahman al-Mawla.
Wanted. Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Quraysh. Reuters Photo
“Last night, under my command, the United States military forces successfully eliminated a major terrorist threat to the world: the global leader of ISIS,” Biden announced exultantly. “Thanks to the bravery of our troopsthis horrible terrorist leader has ceased to exist.”
ISIS has tried to resurface and has carried out a series of attacks in the region, including a 10-day assault late last month to take over a prison. It is estimated that he led commandos in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon.
But the organization no longer has the power of the past. ISIS no longer controls large portions of those countries and its power to convene jihadists has dwindled, experts estimate. Nor have they managed to commit attacks outside the region such as those in Paris in 2015 and certainly Al Qurayshi, a low profile, he did not have the stature of his predecessor.
But there had been some concern in recent months that the group was trying to rebuild itself with ambushes and attacks in the area, particularly the prison takeover. Biden said al-Qurayshi was responsible for the jail attack, as well as the genocide of the Yazidi people in Iraq in 2014.
The incursion of US forces gives Biden a break, who was seeking military success for the United States after the setback in Afghanistan, where the chaotic departure of his troops was considered a serious mistake by his administration and a blow to his popularity. Furthermore, the Afghanistan fiasco had cast doubt on allies and adversaries alike about America’s true global power.
High government officials told the press details of how the operation went, although they did not want to confirm the number of deaths, which According to rescuers from the White Helmets and Unicef, there were 13including 6 minors.
Department of Defense image of the house where the ISIS leader was staying. AP Photo
Planning for the operation took “months,” they said, as Biden was first briefed on it in December, when your intelligence team confirmed that it was Al Qurayshi who was hiding in that building.
Biden was then warned about the “great complexity” of an operation because there were a large number of children in the area and families on the first floor. And in that scenario they gave the president various options.
In his speech at the White House, Biden explained that he made the decision to carry out “a special forces raid, something much more risky” for US troops, instead of launching an airstriketo minimize the number of victims.
He gave the green light Tuesday night and on Wednesday night he oversaw the operation from the White House Situation Room with Deputy Kamala Harris and her top military brass. “There was a huge tensiongiven the number of children we knew were in the house, on the first floor,” added the source, who requested anonymity.
US forces descended from helicopters and entered the building and asked everyone to come out, the officials said, and the warning was confirmed by witnesses at the scene. A family living on the first floor “exited and was moved to a safe place,” the source said.
In total, there were eight children who came out of the building and were saved, including four who were on the second floor, where US forces killed another ISIS terrorist and his wifeaccording to the official.
Al Qurayshi was on the third floor and, shortly after the operation began, “he decided to blow himself up”, by detonating an explosive that killed “several members of his family,” Biden explained in his speech. White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki later said the self-immolation killed a woman and three children.
The scene was eerie, the official described: “The explosion was so strong on the third floor that it ejected bodies out of the house and into the surrounding areas.” An Associated Press reporter and several residents recounted that they saw body parts scattered around the raid site.
US forces collected DNA samples that confirmed al-Qurayshi’s death.