ISIS' 'most wanted' leaders captured in sting operation

ISIS' 'most wanted' leaders captured in sting operation

ISIS' 'most wanted' leaders captured in sting operation

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 U.S. intelligence agencies.

A USA national security official said there were no indications that the operation had captured Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of IS who has always been the coalition's top target.

Iraq captured five Islamic State commanders after its intelligence services lured them into crossing from neighbouring Syria, Iraqi state TV reported on Wednesday.

The three-month operation, which tracked a group of senior Islamic State leaders who had been hiding in Syria and Turkey, represents a significant intelligence victory for the American-led coalition fighting the extremist group and underscores the strengthening relationship between Washington and Baghdad.

Hashimi referred to Eithawi and Jamal as "the two most senior Islamic State figures ever to be captured alive".

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US and Iraqi forces then used an app on Eithawi's mobile phone to lure the other men across the Syrian border and into Iraq where they were arrested.

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.

Five senior leaders of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) were captured in a joint operation involving USA and Iraqi forces. But al-Baghdadi is believed to still be operating on the border between Syria and Iraq.

Adrian J.T. Rankine-Galloway, said the USA credited Iraqi security forces with the militants' capture "on the Iraq-Syria border".

US officials view al-Baghdadi as a threat because in the last few years he has inspired attacks in the USA, such as the 2015 San Bernardino attack which killed 14.

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