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US raid in Syria killed top Islamic State leader Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi: Joe Biden


ATMEH: U.S. special forces carried out what the Pentagon says is a large-scale counterterrorism air strike in northwestern Syria early Thursday. First responders at the scene said 13 people were killed, including six children and four women.
Residents said helicopters flew overhead and US forces clashed with gunmen for more than two hours around a two-story house surrounded by olive trees. They described repeated shootings and explosions that rocked the peaceful village of Atmeh near the Turkish border, an area dotted with camps for displaced people from Syria’s civil war.
The Pentagon did not identify the target of the raid. The Pentagon press secretary said: “ Mission was successful. John Kirby said in a brief statement. “ No American casualties. More information will be provided as it becomes available. ”
An AP journalist and several residents said they saw body parts scattered near the site of the airstrike, a house in Syria’s Idlib province held by rebels. . Most residents remain anonymous for fear of reprisals.
It was the largest raid in the province since the Trump-era US strike in 2019 that killed Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
An Iraqi intelligence official with ties to the US-led coalition said the target on Thursday was a senior militia leader, whose identity would be announced by the White House later in the day. Information suggested he could be the successor to al-Baghdadi, the current IS leader known as Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi, the official added. He spoke on condition of anonymity to reveal sensitive information.
Idlib is largely controlled by Turkish-backed militants but is also an al-Qaida stronghold and home to some of its top special forces. Other fighters, including extremists from the rival IS group, have also found refuge in the area.
“ The first few moments were terrifying, no one knew what was happening ” Jamil el-Deddo, a resident of a nearby refugee camp. He added: “ We are worried it could be a Syrian plane, which brings back memories of barrel bombs that were once dropped on us,’ he added, referring to containers full of substances. Crude explosives used by President Bashar Assad’s forces against opponents in the Syrian conflict.
The top floor of the house was almost completely destroyed in Thursday’s raid, with ceilings and walls knocked down.
Blood can be seen on the walls and floors of the remaining structure, including a dilapidated bedroom with a baby’s wooden crib on the floor. On a damaged wall, a blue plastic children’s swing still hangs. The kitchen was burned black because of the damage.
The opposition-run Syrian Civil Defense, first responders also known as the White Helmets, said 13 people were killed in shelling and clashes that followed the raid. of American commandos. They included six children and four women, it said.
The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition war watchdog, also said the attack had killed 13 people, including four children and two women. Ahmad Rahhal, a citizen journalist who visited the site, reported seeing 12 bodies.
The Pentagon did not provide details on casualties in the raid.
The observatory said troops landed by helicopter. Residents and activists describe witnessing a major assault on the ground, with US forces using loudspeakers urging women and children to leave the area.
Omar SalehA resident of a nearby house said his doors and windows started rattling due to the low sound of a plane at 1:10 a.m. local time. He then heard a man speaking Arabic with an Iraqi or Saudi accent over the loudspeaker, urging the women to surrender or leave the area.
“ This takes 45 minutes. No response. Then the machine gun went off,” Saleh said. He said the shooting continued for two hours, as the plane circled low over the area.
Taher al-Omar, an activist based in Idlib, said he has witnessed clashes between militants and US forces. Others reported hearing at least one loud explosion during the operation. A US official said that one of the helicopters involved in the raid had a mechanical problem and had to be blown up on the ground. The US official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the details of the military operation.
The military operation has made headlines on social media, with tweets from the area depicting helicopters firing around a building near Atmeh. Flight tracking data also showed that multiple drones flew around the city of Sarmada and the village of Salwah, just north of the raid’s location.
In the past, the US has used drones to destroy top al-Qaida agents in Idlib, which at one point was home to the largest concentration of leaders of the group since the early days. Osama bin Laden In afghanistan. The fact that special forces landed on the ground showed that the target was supposed to be of high value.
A similar attack in Pakistan, in 2011, killed bin Laden.
Thursday’s covert operation comes as the Islamic State group is reasserting itself in Syria and Iraq with increased attacks.
Last month, it carried out its biggest military operation since its defeat and its members dispersed underground in 2019: an attack on a prison in northeastern Syria that held at least 3,000 IS. The attack appeared aimed at disrupting high-ranking IS special forces in the prison.
It took 10 days of fighting for US-backed, Kurdish-led forces to fully recapture the prison, and it says more than 120 fighters and their prison staff have been killed along with them. with 374 warriors. The US-led coalition carried out airstrikes and deployed US personnel on the Bradley Fighting Vehicle to the prison area to assist the Kurdish forces.
A senior SDF official, Nowruz AhmadThe attack on the prison was part of a broader plot that ISIS has long been preparing, which includes attacks on other nearby areas in northeastern Syria by people, said Monday. Kurdish-run camp and al-Hol camp in the south, home to thousands of families. of IS members.
In recent years, the US-led coalition has targeted prominent fighters, aiming to circumvent what US officials say is a secret cell known as the Khorasan group. for outside attacks. A US air strike killed al-Qaida’s second commander, formerly Bin Laden Abu al-Kheir al-Masri aide, in Syria in 2017.





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