Iraqi Intelligence Announce Capture of Two ISIS Leaders in Operation Outside of Iraq

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What to Know:

The Iraqi National Intelligence Service (INIS) has announced that two prominent members of the Islamic State, who were involved in operations in Fallujah, where captured during an operations outside of the country, although it remains unknown exactly where.

The Operation:

In a statement released by INIS, operators “were able to arrest two of the most dangerous leaders of ISIS terrorists who were involved in the most heinous terrorist crimes in Iraq, in a specific operation outside the Iraqi borders.” The two militants, identified as Issam Abd Ali Saedan and Bashir Abdul Ali Saedan, were then brought back to Iraq, where they will face trial.

According to INIS, Issam Abd Ali Saedan was involved in the “slaughter of the martyr soldier Kazem Al-Rikabi, and who is responsible for managing all the media activities of the terrorist gangs in Fallujah after the year 2014, and who was involved in documenting many terrorist crimes, the most prominent of which was the killing of the two martyred soldiers, Mustafa Al-Adhari and Samir Murad Al-Dalawi.”

Bashir Abdul Ali Saedan was described by INIS as being “responsible for all ISIS terrorist operations in Fallujah after 2014, and he was in charge of securing and encrypting the communications of terrorist gang leaders.”

“At a time when the victories of the heroes of the Iraqi National Intelligence Service are continuing over the forces of terrorism, darkness, and takfir, they pledge to their honorable people to continue pursuing these criminals and hunting them down one by one, a promise they made to themselves and they spent dearly and preciously to fulfill. May God protect Iraq and the Iraqis and bless their victories,” INIS added.

Why it Matters:

Despite the collapse of the so-called Caliphate in Iraq and Syria following the liberation of Mosul in 2017 and Baghouz in 2019, the Islamic State remains a persistent issue within both countries, which western military and intelligence officials believe could face a resurgence if the region faces continued destabilization.

However, according to data by BBC Monitoring, attacks claimed by the Islamic State and its affiliated terror groups globally has decreased from 1,811 in 2022 to 838 in 2023, marking a 53 percent drop. In Iraq and Syria, claimed attacks dropped 65 and 62 percent respectively, with the only increase in militant activity having been reported in the Philippines.

The United States-led Coalition against the Islamic State is now at a critical point as formal talks have begun about the eventual withdrawal of forces from Iraq, which also comes amid increased tensions with Iran-backed Shia militias in the region.