ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Iraqi security forces on Tuesday announced the arrest of a suspect believed to be the deputy of former Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
Iraq’s Security Media Cell released photos of a man who it captured during an operation in the disputed Kirkuk province, claiming he was Baghdadi’s deputy.
“A unit from the Hawija police in the province of Kirkuk has arrested the terrorist known as ‘Abu Khaldoun’ inside one of the apartment in the March 1 area,” a statement from the Media Cell read.
“He was carrying a false identity card under the name Shaalan Obeid. This criminal worked as a deputy under al-Baghdadi and was previously the so-called military police of the province of Salahuddin,” it added.
Baghdadi was killed during a US special forces raid in northwestern Syria in October.
Despite Iraq having declared a military defeat against the terror group in late 2017, the Islamic State continues to pose a threat in the region, with arrests of Islamic State fighters and leaders made regularly.
On Saturday, separate bombings in the disputed province of Kirkuk left at least 16 people injured, security and health officials said.
On Sunday, Islamic State attacks in the disputed province of Diyala left at least five people dead and dozens more injured.
Officials in the Kurdistan Region have often called on the relevant authorities to address the root causes that led to the rise of the Islamic State, warning that the group’s ideology remains a risk.