Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi, the latest leader of The Islamic State, died Wednesday as the result of a raid on his headquarters by US Special Forces. Qurayshi blew himself and his family up when it became clear he would otherwise be apprehended by US forces. No American casualties were reported as a result of the operation.
Discussing the operation, President Biden stated “A major terrorist leader [is] off the battlefield, thanks to the bravery of our troops, this horrible terrorist leader is no more. Knowing that terrorist had chosen to surround himself with families, including children, we made a choice to pursue a Special Forces raid at a much greater risk to our own people rather than targeting him with an airstrike.”
“Rather than face justice for the crimes he has committed.” Biden added, “[Qurayshi took] several members of his family with him, just as his predecessor did.”
Qurayshi is best known for his role in directing the genocide of the Yazidi people, an ethnic and religious minority who live in Kurdistan, as well as overseeing the operations of ISIS under the leadership of former ISIS Emir Abu bark Al-Baghdadi, essentially serving as his COO. Qurayshi took over ISIS after Al-Baghdadi was killed in 2019 by a raid ordered by President Trump.
The exact death toll from the operation remains unclear, with the Pentagon identifying four civilians and five combatants among the dead, with Syrian aid workers on the ground placing the death toll at 13. In addition to Qurayshi, another top ISIS lieutenant was killed in a firefight with US forces. Planning for the raid appears to have begun in mid-December when President Biden was briefed on the location of Qurayshi and the possibility of taking him out.
Security officials noted that, while losing their leader would likely create problems for ISIS, the organization as a whole would survive and continue to operate. “These jihadist organizations, they have a plan for succession. They have to deal with this stuff” one analyst noted.
Congratulations to US Special Operations for eliminating this threat to American security and global stability, whose crimes against humanity rendered his death long overdue.