Iraqi forces captured a top member of ISIS who was known to manage the terror group’s money, the country’s prime minister announced Monday.
Mustafa Al-Kadhimi said on Twitter that Sami Jasim al-Jaburi had been collared in a “complex external operation.” Though al-Kadhimi did not give the precise location where al-Jaburi had been nabbed, a senior Iraqi military source told AFP he had been arrested in Turkey.
It was not immediately clear whether the Turkish government knew of the Iraqi operation or was involved in it.
Air Force Lt. Col. Joel Harper, a spokesman for the US-led coalition to defeat ISIS, declined to comment on the operation, but praised “our brave Iraqi partners as they regularly lead and conduct destructive blows to the remnants” of the brutal terror group, according to Reuters.
The US government had offered up to $5 million in exchange for information leading to al-Jaburi’s arrest. The State Department’s Rewards for Justice program described him on its website as “a senior leader” of ISIS, “a legacy member” of its predecessor Al Qaeda in Iraq, and “instrumental in managing finances for ISIS’s terrorist operations.”
After ISIS overran large swathes of Syria and Iraq in 2014, the State Department says, al-Jaburi acted as its “finance minister” — directing the sale of oil, natural gas, minerals and antiquities on the black market. He was labeled a Specially Designated Global Terrorist by the Treasury Department in September 2015.
Al-Jaburi is also believed to have been a close associate of the late ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who blew himself up in 2019 when US forces raided his hideout in northwestern Syria. According to Reuters, al-Jaburi is only the second senior ISIS leader to be taken alive — making him a potential treasure trove of information about the group’s capabilities and ambitions in its post-Baghdadi state.
“He is involved in the day to day operations of ISIS in Syria and Iraq, so strategically and tactically, this is a significant capture for the Iraqis,” Hassan Hassan, editor-in-chief of New Lines Magazine and an ISIS expert, told Reuters.
Western military officials estimate that ISIS still has at least 10,000 fighters across Iraq and Syria, most of them in remote areas. While the Iraqi government declared victory over ISIS in December 2017, the group has continued to carry out attacks on police and military installations, killing dozens in the past year.
With Post wires