ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Iraqi forces on Wednesday announced they had arrested an Islamic State leader of a local branch in a sub-district of northern Baghdad Province.
The operation comes just a day after fighters from the extremist group ambushed security forces evacuating the site of an improvised explosive device that had just detonated, killing four, according to initial reports.
Though the identity of the suspect was not given, a statement released by the Iraqi Ministry of Defense read that he had previously “founded Da’esh [Islamic State] in al-Rashidiya sub-district, north of Baghdad.”
According to the statement, as part of a purported “terrorist family,” the alleged leader's mother and sister are now both in prison, while “his father and brother fled to a neighboring country.” No further details about the family were given.
With military intelligence agents giving chase, the statement explained, the suspect was “forced to flee to Diyala [Province], where he was delegated to become one of the leaders” of the Islamic State's remnants. This, it continued, prompted the agents “to ambush and arrest him.”
Although Iraq declared its military defeat of the Islamic State in December 2017, the terrorist group continues to carry out insurgency-style attacks in formerly liberated areas like Mosul, which it once declared its de-facto capital, and even places it never controlled, like Baghdad.
In early May, a suicide bomber detonated his vest at a busy market Baghdad, with reports of eight people killed and 15 others injured.
Editing by John J. Catherine