Biden: ‘I’m Determined to Protect the American People From Terrorist Threats’

“Last night, operating on my orders, the United States military forces successfully removed a major terrorist threat to the world, a global leader of ISIS,” President Biden said in a televised statement at mid-morning on Thursday.

“This operation is testament to our reach and capability to take out terrorist threats no matter where they try to hide anywhere in the world.  I’m determined to protect the American people from terrorist threats, and I’ll take decisive action to protect this country,” Biden said.

Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi, who succeeded Abu Bakr al Baghdadi as the ISIS leader, blew himself up at a house in northwestern Syria as U.S. Special Forces approached the building.

Biden said al-Hashimi also blew up the building’s third floor, killing members of his own family “rather than face justice for the crimes he has committed.”

“Thanks to the bravery of our troops, this horrible terrorist leader is no more,” Biden said.


Our forces carried out the operation with their signature preparation and precision, and I directed the Department of Defense to take every precaution possible to minimize civilian casualties.

Knowing that this 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 air strike. We made this choice to minimize civilian casualties.

Biden praised the “immense courage and skilled determination of our U.S. forces who skillfully executed this incredibly challenging mission.”

According to The New York Times: “The helicopter-borne assault carried out by about two dozen American commandos, backed by helicopter gunships, armed Reaper drones and attack jets, resembled the raid in October 2019 in which Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the previous leader of the Islamic State, died when he detonated a suicide vest as U.S. forces raided a hide-out not far from where Thursday’s operation took place.”

That report indicated last night’s raid did not go entirely as planned:

American helicopters ferried the commandos into position after midnight, surrounding a house in Atmeh, a town close to the border with Turkey in rebel-held Idlib Province, according to eyewitnesses, social media reports and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a conflict monitor based in Britain.

A tense standoff briefly ensued, with loudspeakers blaring warnings in Arabic for everyone in the house to surrender, neighbors said. Then an explosion rocked the building. After that, some of the house’s occupants had not emerged and a major battle erupted, with heavy machine gun fire and apparent missile strikes.

During the operation, one of the American helicopters suffered a mechanical problem, was forced to land and was later destroyed by American attack aircraft. After about three hours, the American commandos and their remaining helicopters flew off, witnesses said.

At the conclusion of his remarks on Thursday, Biden again spoke about keeping the American people safe.

“We remain vigilant. We remain prepared,” he said.

“Last night’s operation took a major terrorist leader off the battlefield, Biden said. And it sent a strong message to terrorists around the world. We will come after you and find you.

“Once again, today – we continue our unceasing effort to keep the American people safe and to strengthen the security of our allies and partners around the world.”


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