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Isis’ top leader killed by US marines during raid in Syria

The ‘ghost’ leader of Isis who has led the brutal group from the shadows has been killed during a US raid in Syria.

President Joe Biden confirmed Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi was taken out in a military operation last night.

The secretive jihadi, who has been linked to some of the worst atrocities committed by the group, has been a key figure in Isis for several years.

Al-Qurayshi was made leader of the terrorist organisation when previous head Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was taken out in October 2019.

He has masterminded recent efforts to rebuild the group’s position after air strikes and fierce resistance caused it’s regime to crumble.

The group has been forced underground after conquering vast swathes of Iraq and Syria in 2015 and now finds itself leaderless.

President Biden is expected to address the US later today.

Syria
Six children and four women were also killed in the destructive raid on the Islamist leader’s compound (Picture: Andalou)
epa09724336 A damaged building is seen after an alleged counterterrorism operation by US Special forces in the early morning in Atma village in the northern countryside of Idlib, Syria, 03 February 2022. Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said that 'U.S. Special Operations forces under the control of U.S. Central Command conducted a counterterrorism mission in northwest Syria'. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that there were 'confirmed reports of fatalities', but did not provide numbers or identities. EPA/YAHYA NEMAH
The raid is the biggest conducted by the US in Syria since 2019 (Picture: EPA)

He said in a statement: ‘Last night at my direction, US military forces in the northwest Syria successfully undertook a counterterrorism operation to protect the American people and our Allies, and make the world a safer place.

‘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.’

An image shared by the White House showed him sitting alongside his deputy, Kamala Harris, in the situation room.

According to the post, the president observed the counterterrorism operation alongside members of his national security team.

President Biden
An image shared by the White House showed president Biden watching the operation unfold (Picture: Twitter/White House)
IDLIB, SYRIA - FEBRUARY 03: An aerial view of wreckages around the site after an operation carried out by US forces with the support of an F-16 fighter jet and a helicopter, on February 03, 2022 in Idlib, Syria. At least 13 people were killed in an operation carried out by US forces early Thursday in Syria's Idlib province, according to civil defense teams. The raid claimed the lives of 13 people, including six children and four women, said civil defense teams working on the wreckage. (Photo by Izzeddin Kasim/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
The scale of the operation and the fact drones were not relied on makes the operation comparable to that which killed Osama Bin Laden in 2011 (Picture: Andalou)

At least 13 people died during the raid last night, thought to be the largest since the 2019 operation targeting the previous leader in Idlib.

Several residents said they saw body parts scattered near the site, adding that the raid involved helicopters, explosions and machine-gun fire.

The clandestine operation comes at a crucial time in the battle to crush the group, which has launched a series of attacks in recent weeks and months.

Militants recently launched a 10-day assault in an effort to seize a prison in north-eastern Syria which houses at least 3,000 detainees linked to the group.A US-backed Kurdish-led force said on Monday that the Gweiran prison, also known as al-Sinaa prison, is now fully under its control.

The Syrian Democratic Forces said more than 120 of their fighters and prison workers died in the effort to thwart the IS plot.

EDITORS NOTE: Graphic content / Syrian civil defence work on February 3, 2022 at the scene following an overnight raid by US special operations forces against suspected jihadists in Atme, in Syria's northwestern province of Idlib which left at least nine people dead, including three civilians. (Photo by Muhammad HAJ KADOUR / AFP) (Photo by MUHAMMAD HAJ KADOUR/AFP via Getty Images)
No US soldiers were killed during the raid, which involved jets, helicopters and drones (Picture: AFP)

Al-Qurayshi served as an officer in Saddam Hussein’s army before joining Al Qaeda during the war in Afghanistan.

He was detained by the US at Camp Bucca, where he met al-Baghdadi and pledged allegiance to his caliphate.

A December 2021 report by the Wilson Center, noted that al-Qurayshi, also known as Amir Muhammad Sa’id Abdal-Rahman al-Mawla, hasn’t shown his face and the group has released almost no biographical details about him.

It continued: ‘Al-Mawla has not even given an audio address in which Islamic State members might hear his voice – a sharp break in precedent.

‘Some disaffected former members of the group have argued that it is contrary to the Sharia to pledge allegiance to a ghost, but that does not seem to have swayed opinion.

‘If there was opposition to al Mawla’s ascension, it has not manifested on the battlefield.’

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