The ISIS leader was killed Thursday, blowing himself up along with members of his family during an overnight raid carried out by US special operations forces in northwestern Syria, President Joe Biden said.
“Thanks to the skill and bravery of our Armed Forces, we have taken off the battlefield Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Quraishi — the leader of ISIS,” Biden said in a statement. He said all Americans involved in the operation returned safely.
Rescue workers said at least 13 people also died, including women and children.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said US officials believe al-Quraishi’s explosive killed himself, his wife, and three children. She added that US officials were conducting an assessment to determine whether any civilians were killed.
US special forces landed in helicopters and assaulted a house in an opposition-held corner of Syria, clashing for two hours with gunmen, witnesses said. Residents described continuous gunfire and explosions that jolted the town of Atmeh near the Turkish border.
Quraishi succeeded Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi who led the group when it took over swathes of Syria and Iraq, ruling over millions of people at the height of its self-declared “caliphate.”
Baghdadi was killed in Oct. 2019 by US troops - also in a raid in north Syria - after ISIS militants were defeated on the battlefield. The group is now waging insurgent attacks in Iraq and Syria.
Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby earlier described Thursday's raid as a successful counter-terrorism mission, saying there were no US casualties.