ISIS' 'most wanted' leaders captured in sting operation

Saul Bowman
May 11, 2018

Iraqi forces in co-ordination with USA -backed Syrian forces have captured five senior leaders of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria group, the US -led coalition said Thursday in a statement.

Ryan Dillon tweeted on Thursday that Iraq captured five key ISIS leaders as part of Operation Roundup. Trump wrote in a post on Twitter, providing no further details.

It was unclear what criteria, if any, Trump was using to describe the ISIS operatives as the "five most wanted".

Al-Eithawi, a top aide to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, was captured in February by Turkish authorities and handed over to Iraqi agents, a security advisor to the Iraqi government said on Thursday.

They were named as Saddam al-Jammel, Mohammed al-Qadeer, Ismail al-Eithawi, Omar al-Karbouli and Essam al-Zawbai.

Iraqi agents who carried out the mission to capture the leaders were joined by members of an American-led coalition fighting against the Islamic State on both sides of the Iraqi-Syrian border.

Officials then got Ithawi to persuade the other ISIS officials to move closer to a trap set up by Iraqi and American forces, where they were arrested. An official said of al-Baghdadi: "His movements are discreet and he never travels in a convoy".

The self-styled caliph is still at large and believed to be hiding in the cross border area between Iraq and Syria. The Iraqi air force has carried out several airstrikes since a year ago against ISIS positions in Syrian territory.

Abadi declared final victory last December over the ultra-hardline group within Iraq. Adrian J.T. Rankine-Galloway, said the USA credited Iraqi security forces with the militants' capture "on the Iraq-Syria border".

The leaders were taken in Iraq after months of strategic planning by the USA, including the CIA, Turkey and Iraqi forces.

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