A Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesperson has said a senior member of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) who had been hiding in Turkey was captured in a cross-border sting carried out by the Iraqi and US intelligence agencies with the contribution of Turkish security forces, subsequently enabling the capture of other top ISIL officials in Iraq.
“Turkey has mobilized all its national capacity in the fight against DAESH. We are pleased to see that the international cooperation established in this regard is yielding important results,” Hami Aksoy said in a written statement on Friday, using the Arabic acronym for ISIL.
The operation mentioned in a New York Times article published on May 9 “initially started with the apprehension of a leading member of DAESH, Ismail Alwaan al-Ithawi, by the Turkish intelligence and law enforcement agencies in Sakarya and his subsequent deportation to Iraq,” said Aksoy.
The Iraqis sent the Turks an intelligence file they had amassed on Ithawi, and Turkish security forces arrested him on Feb. 15, and extradited him to Iraq, according to The New York Times.
Ankara is pleased by the “success of the operation that also benefited from Turkey’s contribution. Turkey shall continue its efforts in countering DAESH in cooperation with the U.S., Iraq and other countries.” said the spokesperson.
Five senior ISIL officials were captured, including a top aide to the group’s leader, in the cross-border sting carried out by Iraqi and US intelligence, The New York Times reported on May 9.
Two Iraqi intelligence officials said those captured included four Iraqis and one Syrian whose responsibilities included governing ISIL’s territory around Deir al-Zour, Syria, directing internal security and running the administrative body that oversees religious rulings, the Times reported.