US President Joe Biden has confirmed the leader of the Islamic State has been killed during a raid in northwest Syria.
Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurashi detonated an explosive killing himself and members of his family as US Special Forces raided the building.
President Biden has said the operation “took a major terrorist leader off the battlefield”.
But who was Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurashi, and what else has President Biden said about his death?
Who was Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurashi?
Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurashi was appointed the second leader of the Islamic State in 2019, succeeding Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
He elected to the role by a shura council after al-Baghdadi was killed in an US air raid in October 2019.
Questions have remained over the real identity of al-Qurashi and his claims to being connected to the lineage of Muhammad’s Quraysh tribe after it was reported in The Guardian in 2020 that his real name was Amir Muhammad Sa’id Abdal Rahman al-Mawla.
In March 2020, al-Qurashi was designated a Specially Designated Global Terrorist by the United States, meaning that he was deemed to have committed or was likely to commit acts of terrorism.
While not much is known about the former Isis leader, experts say his death will have a large impact on the terrorist group.
How did Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurashi die?
During the US Special Forces raid in Atmeh, Syria on 2 February 2022, al-Qurashi was killed.
He died after detonating an explosive device, thought to be strapped to him, early into the raid.
The explosion also killed members of his family who were present.
There were 13 confirmed civilian deaths as a result of the raid, including six children.
Speaking to The Associated Press, Jamil el-Deddo, a nearby resident of a refugee camp, recalled the moment the US Forces began the raid.
He said: “No one knew what was happening.
“We were worried it could be Syrian aircraft, which brought back memories of barrel bombs that used to be dropped on us.”
What has Joe Biden said about the death of al-Quraishi?
President Biden confirmed the death of al-Qurashi in a statement on Thursday 3 February.
He said: “Last night at my direction, US 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.”
President Biden said that no Americans were harmed in the operation.
He added: “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. All Americans have returned safely from the operation.”
Speaking at a press conference later in the day, President Biden called al-Qurashi a “coward”, saying: “‘As a final act of desperate cowardice, [al-Qurayshi] with no regard to the lives of his own family or others in the building, he chose to blow himself up.
“This horrible terrorist leader is no more.
“We remain vigilant. We remain prepared.
“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.”
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