US President Barack Obama has said that Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi was killed in Syria.
President Joe Biden on Thursday revealed that US counterterrorism operations in northwestern Syria had "pulled Islamic State (ISIS, formerly ISIS) leader Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qureshi out of the battlefield." Dozens of civilians were also reported killed.
"Last night, at my behest, US forces successfully conducted counterterrorism operations in northwestern Syria to protect the American people and our allies," Biden's statement read. "Thanks to the skill and bravery of our armed forces, we have eliminated ISIS leader Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qureshi from the battlefield."
Biden also noted that all Americans involved in the operation had returned safely. The president's statement came hours after the Pentagon confirmed a raid targeting a house in the village of Atmeh in Syria's Idlib province, near the Turkish border. Locals told the AP that the operation involved several helicopters and heard explosions and machine gun fire.
Al-Quraishi blew himself up during the operation, according to a US official quoted by AFP as saying.
Neither Biden nor the Pentagon mentioned civilian casualties, with a local journalist quoted by the AP as saying that at least 12 bodies were found at the scene, followed by Al Jazeera claiming seven of them were children and three were women. At least nine people, including two children and a woman, were killed, according to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Read more: Civilian deaths recorded in 'successful' US operation in Syria
After the death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in 2019, Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Quraishi was appointed leader of IS. Like al-Qureshi, al-Baghdadi was killed during a U.S. operation in Idlib province on the orders of then-President Donald Trump. . .
Since the Islamic State once occupied large swathes of Iraq and Syria and threatened to expand into North Africa, the group's territorial gains have been reversed by the Syrian government and its Russian and Iranian allies, as well as by US and Western airstrikes.
Prior to his death, al-Qurayshi had been considered a "specially designated global terrorist" by the US since 2020 and had a 10 million bounty on his head.