Washington, May 11: President Donald Trump on Thursday hailed the fact that five of the “most wanted” Islamic State leaders have been captured recently, including Abu Zeid al-Iraqi, one of the main collaborators of the organisation’s chief, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
“Five Most Wanted leaders of ISIS just captured!” Trump tweeted, referring to a coordinated operation to arrest the men by Iraqi and US intelligence agencies, Efe reported.
Among the IS leaders captured are four Iraqis and one Syrian, according to the New York Times, citing Iraqi sources.
The result of the three-month operation to capture the terrorist leaders, who had been hiding in Syria and Turkey, represents an important victory for the Iraqi and US intelligence agencies.
Two Iraqi officials explained to the New York daily, on condition of anonymity, that they had been following the trail of several of the IS leaders for months, but early this year they received intelligence information that led to their arrests.
An Iraqi unit responsible for undercover missions had traced one of those detained – Ismail Alwaan al-Ithawi, known as Abu Zeid al-Iraqi – from Syria to the Turkish city of Sakarya, about 100 miles east of Istanbul, the Times reported.
Abu Zeid al-Iraqi, one of the main associates of top IS leader Abu Bakr, had been living in Turkey with his Syrian wife under his brother’s identity.
The terrorist, who was in charge of making bank transfers into the accounts the IS maintains in different countries and one of Abu Bakr’s closest confidants, was captured by Turkish authorities and handed over to Iraq.
Iraqi and US intelligence spent several weeks interrogating Abu Zeid to acquire information about the location of the other leaders, who were in hiding.
Saddam al-Jammel, a Syrian who had headed the IS operations near the eastern Syrian town of Deir al-Zour, and Abu Abdel al-Haq, an Iraqi who had been the group’s head of internal security, were two of the terrorists captured, The Times reported.