President Joe Biden on Thursday confirmed that a large-scale counterterrorism raid carried out by U.S. special operations forces in northwestern Syria had resulted in the death of Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi, the leader of the Islamic State.
“Last night at my direction, U.S. 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,” Biden said in a statement released by the White House.
“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,” Biden said. “All Americans have returned safely from the operation.”
Biden is scheduled to deliver an address on the raid from the White House later Thursday morning, following his remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast with Vice President Kamala Harris.
Pentagon press secretary John Kirby previously announced the raid in a statement overnight: “U.S. Special Operations forces under the control of U.S. Central Command conducted a counterterrorism mission this evening in northwest Syria. The mission was successful. There were no U.S. casualties. More information will be provided as it becomes available.”
First responders at the scene — in the village of Atmeh near the Turkish border — reported 13 people were killed, including six children and four women, according to The Associated Press.