Updated Feb 3, 2022 - World

Biden on ISIS leader's death: "This horrible terrorist leader is no more"

President Biden said Thursday that top ISIS leader Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi died during a U.S. raid in northwestern Syria.

What he's saying: "Last night's operation took a major terrorist leader off the battlefield. And sent a strong message to terrorists around the world: 'We will come after you and find you,'" Biden, who ordered the operation, said from the White House Thursday.

  • "Thanks to our troops, this horrible terrorist leader is no more," Biden added.
  • The president said that al-Qurayshi "in a final act of desperate cowardice, with no regard to the lives of his own family or others in the building, he chose to blow himself up ... rather than face justice for the crimes he's committed."
  • A senior administration official said earlier Thursday that al-Qurayshi "exploded a bomb that killed him and members of his own family, including women and children" at the beginning of the U.S. operation.
"This operation is a testament to America's reach and capability to take out terrorist threats no matter where they try to hide anywhere in the world. I'm determined to protect the American people from terrorist threats, and I'll take decisive action to protect this country."
— President Biden

The big picture: Monitoring and other groups, as well as residents of the raided village, Atmeh, in the rebel-held Idlib province near the border with Turkey, reported multiple deaths, including civilians.

  • British monitoring group the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least nine people were killed in Thursday's strike, including two children and a woman.
  • The Syrian Civil Defense, first responders also known as the White Helmets, said at least 13 people died, including six children, in "shelling and clashes" that followed the raid, per AP.

Between the lines: It was the largest U.S. operation in the region since ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was killed in 2019, per AP.

Go deeper: Inside the raid that killed ISIS leader al-Qurayshi

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

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