Turkey has captured a wife of former ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced Wednesday. Erdogan didn’t name the woman, and Baghdadi, who died during a US raid on his compound in northern Syria late last month, was believed to have had several wives. Erdogan’s announcement comes a day after Turkey said it had captured Baghdadi’s sister, Rasmiya Awad.
Just days after Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi was killed in Syria, his older sister has reportedly been captured alive in the same country. Turkey said it had arrested 65-year-old Rasmiya Awad in northwest Syria, with an official describing it as an intelligence “gold mine”. She was detained in a raid on a trailer container where she was living with her family.
The Islamic State has confirmed the death of its leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi and announced his successor. Its new leader was named as Abu Ibrahim al Hashemi al Quraishi in audio released by the IS central media arm, al Furqan Foundation. Little is known about al Quraishi and the recording, which urged supporters to follow Baghdadi’s directives and threatens western countries, offered no information about his background.
New footage has been released of the US raid on Abu Bakr al Baghdadi’s compound, during which the IS leader blew himself up. Grainy black and white videos show American forces approaching the property in Syria. They also reveal a huge plume of smoke as the compound was destroyed when they had finished. The head of United States Central Command, general Frank McKenzie, said US forces “discovered Baghdadi hiding in a tunnel”.
Syrian Kurds say they managed to place a spy in Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s inner circle who stole a pair of the Islamic State leader’s underpants to prove his identity and then helped guide US soldiers to his Syrian hideout. The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) claim they played a key role in tracking down Baghdadi to a compound in northern Syria where he was reportedly planning his escape over the nearby border into Turkey.
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the shadowy leader of the Islamic State group who presided over its global jihad and became arguably the world’s most wanted man, died after U.S. special operators cornered him during a raid in Syria, President Donald Trump said Sunday. As U.S. troops bore down on al-Baghdadi, he fled into a “dead-end” tunnel with three of his children, Trump said, and detonated a suicide vest, killing himself and the children.
The shadowy leader of the Islamic State group claimed to appear for the first time in five years in a video released by the extremist group’s propaganda arm on Monday, acknowledging defeat in the group’s last stronghold in Syria but vowing a “long battle” ahead. The man said to be Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in the video also claimed the Easter Day bombings in Sri Lanka which killed over 250 people were “part of the revenge” that awaits the West. Despite numerous claims about his death in the past few years, al-Baghdadi’s whereabouts remain a mystery.
Shamima Begum, the British schoolgirl who ran away to join Isis, has said she has accepted she will probably never return to the UK – but insisted she was “brainwashed” by the terrorist group. Speaking for the first time since the death of her third baby in March, the 19-year-old said she “really regretted everything” and asked for a second chance. Ms Begum claims she left London for Syria in 2015 because she believed “everything that I had been told, while knowing little about the truths of my religion”.
U.S.-backed fighters in Syria declared victory over Islamic State on Saturday, marking the apparent end of a years-long global campaign to break the extremist group’s hold on the region. The capture of ISIS’ last, tiny enclave in the country’s south brings its self-proclaimed caliphate to territorial defeat. On Friday, the White House said the Department of Defense had declared that the militant group no longer held any territory in Syria. At around the same time, Trump tweeted that there was “nothing to admire” about ISIS.
Airstrikes have targeted Islamic State weapons stores as the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) launched an attack against the jihadists’ enclave in Baghuz near the Iraqi border. The assault by the SDF aims to wipe out the last vestige of Isis’s self-declared “caliphate” that once spanned a third of Iraq and Syria. While the Baghuz enclave represents the last shred of populated land held by the jihadists, the group is still widely seen as a big security threat with remote territory elsewhere and the continued capacity to launch guerrilla attacks.