ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – An Iraqi criminal court on Wednesday sentenced to hanging the “deputy” of the Islamic State’s (IS) leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, for membership and posts he held in the terrorist organization.
“The Karkh criminal court in Baghdad sentenced to death by hanging one of the most prominent leaders of IS, who served as a deputy for Baghdadi,” the Higher Judicial Council (HJC) said in a statement released on their website.
According to HJC spokesperson Abdul Sattar al-Birqdar, Ismail al-Aithawi was extradited from Turkey in early 2018 following his flight from Syria as their grip on territory was fading.
In February, an Iraqi official told AFP that Aithawi was captured through cooperation between US, Turkish, and Iraqi intelligence agencies.
From Anbar Province’s city of Ramadi, Aithawi was accused of holding many positions in IS, among them the head of “the Fatwa [Edicts] Committee.”
Despite Iraq’s declaration of a full victory over IS, which controlled large areas of Iraq and Syria, the militant group continues to carry out insurgency-style attacks in several provinces in Iraq including in areas disputed between the Kurdistan Region and Baghdad.
Over the past four years, Baghdadi has frequently been reported killed or injured, namely in the bordering areas located between Iraq and Syria. So far, there has been no confirmation of his death. In July, however, the group verified the death of one of Baghdadi’s sons.
In an audiotape released in August purportedly by the leader, he called on his supporters and fighters for continued “jihad.”
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany