Iraqi safety forces killed the person believed to be the second-highest commander of Islamic State (IS) and the group’s high chief in Iraq, Abu Yaser al-Issawi, throughout an operation on Thursday, Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi introduced.
“Our heroic armed forces have eliminated Daesh commander Abu Yaser al-Issawi as part of an intelligence-led operation,” Kadhimi tweeted.
Iraq’s Counterterrorism Service mentioned its forces killed Issawi within the Wadi al-Shay space outdoors Kirkuk in coordination with Iraq’s National Intelligence Service.
The space is thought-about one of many remaining hideouts of IS sleeper cells which have terrorized native populations with assassinations and kidnappings since Iraq declared victory over the supposed caliphate in late 2017.
A spokesperson for Kadhimi’s workplace confirmed the information of the jihadi chief’s demise to Al-Monitor however declined to supply particulars of the operation.
Originally from Anbar province, Issawi — whose full identify is considered Jabbar Salman Ali Farhan — is believed to be IS’ Iraqi wali, or governor, and a deputy to so-called caliph Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi.
His demise by the hands of Iraq’s safety forces would mark a notable victory for the Kadhimi authorities, which faces elevated criticism after IS claimed a uncommon double suicide bombing in a crowded downtown market in Baghdad final week.
The twin blasts killed greater than 30 folks and injured greater than 100, prompting Kadhimi to fireplace quite a few safety officers, together with the commander of Iraq’s federal police and the deputy inside minister for intelligence affairs.
An Iraqi official talking on situation of anonymity informed Al-Monitor the prime minister personally ordered the formation of a safety job power to search out Issawi following final week’s bloodbath.
“We promised and fulfilled,” Kadhimi wrote Thursday. “I gave my word to pursue Daesh terrorists, [and] we gave them a thundering response.” Daesh is the Arabic initials for the Islamic State.
Iraqi safety officers consider the 39-year-old Issawi rose to prominence as a army commander and governor of north Baghdad earlier than being positioned in control of the group’s whole franchise in Iraq because the so-called caliphate collapsed.
The Iraqi official informed Al-Monitor that Issawi’s demise got here after safety forces had tracked down 17 of his associates in Kirkuk and Salahuddin provinces during the last 5 months, together with the person believed to be Issawi’s personal courier, Laiq Muhammad Dawud al-Bayati, and the suspected high ringleader of IS militants in Kirkuk, Ghassan Najm Saleh Ahmed al-Obeidi.
Issawi is the highest-ranking IS official killed or captured since Abdul Nasser Qardash was detained by Syrian Kurdish-led forces on the Battle of Baghouz in 2019. Qardash, who was later handed over to Iraq’s safety companies, is the highest-ranking IS official ever captured alive. The group’s unique self-declared caliph, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, died in a US Delta Force raid on a compound in northwest Syria near the Turkish border in October 2019. IS’ present chief stays at massive.
Al-Monitor has reached out to the US-led worldwide army coalition for remark.