ISIL leader blows up self, family as US attacks Syria hideout

The leader of ISIL group blew himself up along with members of his family as American forces raided his Syria hideout Thursday, the U.S. said the second time in three years the United States has taken out a leader of the violent group that has been struggling for resurgence with deadly attacks in the region.

President Joe Biden announced the overnight raid by American special operations forces, which U.S. officials called a "significant blow" to the radical militant organization.

The ISIL group at the height of its power controlled more than 40,000 square miles stretching from Syria to Iraq and ruled over 8 million people. Its attacks in the region included a major assault last month to seize a prison in northeast Syria holding at least 3,000 ISIL detainees.

The raid targeted Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi, who took over as head of the group on Oct. 31, 2019, just days after leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi died during a U.S. raid. Al-Qurayshi, unlike his predecessor, was far from a household name, a secretive man who presided over a far diminished version of the group and didn't appear in public.

Biden said al-Qurayshi died as al-Baghdadi did, by exploding a bomb that killed himself and members of his family, including women and children, as U.S. forces approached.

"Thanks to the bravery of our troops this horrible terrorist leader is no more," Biden said at the White House. He said al-Qurayshi had been responsible for the prison assault, as well as genocide against the Yazidi people in Iraq in 2014.

About 50 U.S. special operations forces landed in helicopters and attacked a house in a rebel-held corner of Syria, clashing for two hours with gunmen, witnesses said. Residents described continuous gunfire and explosions...

Continue reading on: