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Raid on ISIS leader’s home in Syria meant to capture him alive, reduce civilian harm, Pentagon officials say


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WASHINGTON — The pre-dawn raid Thursday by U.S. special operations forces in northeastern Syria was designed to capture the leader of the Islamic State group, who instead blew himself up along with members of his family rather than be taken alive, top Pentagon officials said.

Elite American troops spent months planning and coordinating the operation, conducting tabletop exercises and dry-runs intent on avoiding civilian casualties and capturing ISIS leader Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi, the officials said in separate briefings Thursday. But as the U.S. troops surrounded al-Qurayshi’s home and called through a megaphone for the occupants to surrender, the ISIS leader detonated a bomb that destroyed the building’s third floor, killing him and several others, including his own wife and children, officials said.

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