Cross-border sting operations carried out jointly by Iraqi and American intelligence officials led to the capture of five high-ranking Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) terrorists who were hiding in Syria, including a top aide to the group’s chief Abu Bakr al- Baghdadi.
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.
Iraq’s intelligence service deemed the operation a “major victory,” as cited in various open source reports.
Among the five commanders captured jihadists are Baghdadi’s aide Ismail al-Eithawi, alias Abu Zaid al-Iraqi, and a former ISIS governor in Syria, Saddam Jamal.
Their arrest represented the two highest-ranking ISIS jihadists ever to be captured alive.
The other three ISIS commanders captured are identified as Mohamed al-Qadeer from Syria and two Iraqis, Omar al-Karbouli and Essam al-Zawbai.
The five key ISIS/ISIL leaders were captured in sting after Iraqi agents lured them into trap using Telegram app.