President Biden announced on Thursday, Feb. 3, that the ISIS leader Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi had blown himself up along with members of his family when U.S. special forces discovered his hideout in Syria, the Associated Press reported

Early reports from rescue workers and the Syrian Civil Defense reported that 13 civilians, including six children and four women, were killed in the raid. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirmed the same. 

The operation followed a series of attacks by the terrorist group in the region in recent weeks. According to the Associated Press, it was the largest raid since killing the former ISIS leader.

Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi, a 45-year-old Iraqi, had assumed leadership of the ISIS terrorist group in 2019, days after the previous leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, was killed by U.S. forces.

U.S. helicopters reportedly flew overhead surrounding a house in Syria’s rebel-held Idlib province in northwestern Syria. Security forces used megaphones to urge women and children to leave the area.

Biden said al-Qurayshi died as al-Baghdadi did when a bomb exploded, killing him and his family members, including women and children, as U.S. forces approached.

“Thanks to the bravery of our troops, this horrible terrorist leader is no more,” Biden said at the White House. He said al-Qurayshi had been responsible for the assault on the prison in northeastern Syria that held at least 3,000 ISIS detainees and the genocide against the Yazidi people in Iraq in 2014.

As U.S. forces approached Quraishi’s hideout, he set off a bomb, causing an explosion that also killed his own family members, including women and children, Biden said.

Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said U.S. forces evacuated 10 people from the building, including a man, a woman, four children on the first floor, and four children on the second floor. 

Kirby also mentioned that al-Qurayshi killed his wife and two children when he detonated the explosive and that there were no casualties among U.S. forces.

The house’s second floor was utterly destroyed in the blast, and according to several residents, the bodies of people who perished in the explosion scattered around the place. 

“The first moments were terrifying, no one knew what was happening,” said Jamil el-Deddo, a resident of a nearby refugee camp. “We were worried it could be Syrian aircraft, which brought back memories of barrel bombs that used to be dropped on us.”

U.S. special forces have conducted several operations against jihadist targets in and around Idlib in recent months. Idlib is also home to camps for families displaced by the decade-long conflict used by jihadists to hide among civilians.

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