Iraq Claims to Have Arrested Top ISIS Leader

Iraq said Monday it had detained a top ISIS leader and al-Qaida member who worked in cross-border operations.

Iraqi PM Mustafa al-Kadhimi broke the news, referring to the man as Sami Jassem, who oversaw ISIS’s financial operations and was the deputy leader of ISIS under the late Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

He called it “one of the most difficult cross-border intelligence operations” carried out by Iraqi forces.

Iraqi intelligence officials told the Associated Press news agency that Jassem was detained in a foreign country and taken to Iraq a few days ago. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak about the operation publicly.

Jassem worked with al-Qaida leader in Iraq Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, before being killed by the Americans in Iraq in 2016. He held various security positions in Iraq, and moved to Syria in 2015, after ISIS declared its caliphate in 2014 and became its deputy. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the extremist group.

Al-Baghdadi was killed in a US-led strike in Northwestern Syria in 2019. [uh/ab]

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