United States Raid on ISIS Leader

United States Raid on ISIS Leader

Emily Harrison, Lion's Roar Staff

     On February 2, President Joe Biden watched members of special forces units from the U.S. military conduct a raid on one of the most prominent ISIS leaders. ISIS stands for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria but this can often be confused with the terrorist group. The Islamic State Terrorist Organization is a jihadist group that claims religious authority over Muslims often through violence and was first inspired by Al-Qaeda, another jihadist group founded by Osama bin Laden.

     In the present day, the over twenty-year old organization has gone through several leaders but the target of the U.S. was Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi. According to a senior administration official al-Qurayshi “was heavily involved in running many of the operations.” Without al-Qurayshi, the U.S. is hoping that ISIS will have to scramble without their leader since he was the one who led so many operations. 

     Specifically, al-Qurayshi was responsible for the deaths of U.S. Marines last year in Afghanistan as well as the genocide of Yazidi ethnic minority. Top Pentagon officials brought a model into the Situation Room of the location that al-Qurayshi was thought to be taking refuge. Families who lived on the first floor of the three floor compound reportedly had no idea that there was a terrorist living two stories above them.

     This knowledge of the location had been in the hands of Biden and all of the high-ranking officials involved for months, when the planning first began. One of Biden’s top priorities was to make sure that civilian deaths were as limited as possible. Given that al-Qurayshi surrounded himself with civilians in the families and children that lived with him as well as the floor below him, this was a tall task. 

     When the American team of special forces first landed in northwestern Syria to carry out the operation, they loudly announced their presence to give civilians a chance to evacuate the area. After children came running out of the first floor of the building, an explosion went.

     The bomb was not a part of the plan of the American special forces, but it was a suicidal detonation that killed Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi, as well as his children and wife, their bodies being scattered around the outside of the building. 

     Self detonation was a scenario considered by the U.S. officials in the Situation Room who were a part of planning the raid, as this was the same thing that happened to former ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi during a raid in 2019. The explosion occurred before any U.S. troops could enter the building so no one on that side was injured, but unfortunately for al-Baghdadi’s wife and children, their lives were taken as a result of his decisions. 

     Even though the high-ranking ISIS official on the third floor was killed as a part of the operation, there was a top ISIS lieutenant who handled day-to-day operations of ISIS operations on the second floor. After the U.S. forces entered the building, the ISIS leader barricaded himself inside of a room with his wife while engaging with the U.S. troops. He and his wife were later killed as a result, and eight children fled the building to safety in the aftermath. 

     As for the helicopter that transported the U.S. troops to carry out the operation, it suffered from mechanical problems and had to be blown up to prevent further damage to land or citizens. In total after the raid and bombings that occurred, the Syria Civil Defence rescue organizations said that “13 civilians died in bombings and clashes, including six children.”(NPR

     Even with the death of al-Baghdadi, the ISIS terriorist group still remains as a prominent force in Syria and Iraq and other leaders will continue to rise from within the organization. This U.S. lead attack does eliminate one of the more powerful ISIS leaders today, but by no means is the war with terrorism over.