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Tipsheet

Biden Explains Why Members of ISIS Leader's Family Were Killed in Raid on Terrorist

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

President Biden explained on Thursday why family members were among those killed in the U.S. Special Operations raid in northwestern Syria that took out Islamic State leader Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi.

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“We do know that as our troops approached to capture the terrorist, in a final act of desperate cowardness, with no regard to the lives of his own families or others in the building, he chose to blow himself up,” Biden said at the White House. 

“Not just at the vest but to blow up that third floor, rather than face justice for the crimes he has committed, taking several members of his family with him just as his predecessor did,” he continued.

The White Helmets said 13 people were killed in the raid, including six children and four women, though a senior administration official disputed reports about the number of casualties, according to The Hill.

Biden noted that the raid was chosen over an air strike “at a much greater risk to our own people” precisely because the ISIS leader surrounded himself with families.

Still, he praised the mission’s success. 

“Thanks to the bravery of our troops, this horrible terrorist leader is no more. Our forces carried out the operation with their signature preparation and precision, and I directed the Department of Defense to take every precaution possible to minimize civilian casualties,” he said.

Biden, in his remarks, noted that al-Qurayshi took over as the global leader of ISIS in 2019 after a U.S. counterterrorism operation killed the group's former leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

“Since then, ISIS has directed terrorist operations targeting Americans, our allies and our partners, and countless civilians in the Middle East, Africa and in South Asia,” Biden said.

Biden added that al-Qurayshi oversaw the spread of ISIS-affiliated terrorist groups globally, savaged communities and murdered innocents. He also was responsible for a recent attack on a prison in northeast Syria.

The president said that U.S. forces “skillfully executed this incredibly challenging mission” and called the members of the military “the backbone of this nation.” (The Hill)

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Biden closed by saying the raid not only "took a major terrorist leader off the battlefield," but also "sent a strong message to terrorists around the world — we will come after you and find you.”

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