On Wednesday night, U.S. special operations forces conducted a counterterrorism operation in Syria that killed Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi, the leader of ISIS.
Sandboxx News understands that the raid was carried out by the Army’s elite Delta Force, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the operation.
No American commandos were wounded during the operation. However, an MH-60 Black Hawk helicopter was damaged and discarded. A follow-up airstrike destroyed the helicopter to prevent it from falling into the wrong hands.
Syrian first responders claim that 13 people were killed in the operation, including six children and four women. U.S. officials have suggested the large number of civilian casualties is a result of a suicide-vest detonation within the compound.
“Last night at my direction, U.S. 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,” President Joe Biden said in a statement.
“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. I will deliver remarks to the American people later this morning. May God protect our troops,” he added.
This is the second time Delta Force targets and eliminates the very senior leadership of the terrorist organization. On October 31, 2019, Delta Force’s A Squadron, conducted a very similar counterterrorism raid in the same region that killed Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the former leader of ISIS.
Then and now, the Delta Force operators were supported by the elite 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, nicknamed the “Night Stalkers.”
The Delta Force operators targeted a single, three-story house in Atmeh, a Syrian town very close to the Turkish border, and not far from the previous ISIS leader had been found hiding.
The American commandos tried to get the occupants of the house to surrender, issuing warnings in Arabic from loudspeakers. After a considerable amount of time, and with no surrender coming, the Delta Force operators and Night Stalkers attacked.
Last night, it seems like when al-Qurayshi realized that U.S. special operators were at his doorstep, he chose to kill himself, taking out innocents with him. If that proves to be accurate, both leaders of ISIS would have died in the exact same manner. The effectiveness and stealthiness of U.S. special operations forces seems to have imbued such fear in ISIS terrorists that sleep with suicide vests on them or keep them within arm’s reach.
“The gravity of the mission and mission success is always in the back of your mind but not failing the men to your left and right (your Brothers) is at the forefront,” a retired Delta Force operator told Sandboxx News.
Ever since al-Qurayshi had succeeded al-Baghdadi he had kept a very low profile, understanding and respecting the intelligence-gathering capabilities of the U.S. and its allies.
“U.S. Special Operations forces under the control of U.S. Central Command conducted a counterterrorism mission this evening in northwest Syria. The mission was successful. There were no U.S. casualties. More information will be provided as it becomes available,” Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said in a press statement.
Despite its official defeat, ISIS continues to pose a regional and international threat.