Iraq arrests ISIL finance chief wanted by US ‘in Turkey’

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Iraq has captured Sami Jasim al-Jaburi, the alleged finance chief of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group who was sought by the United States, in an operation abroad, Agence France-Presse reported on Monday, citing Iraqi authorities.

Jaburi, also the suspected former deputy to the late ISIL leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, was arrested “in Turkey,” a senior Iraqi military source told AFP without elaborating.

Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhemi had earlier announced on Twitter that Jaburi was arrested by the intelligence services “outside the borders” of Iraq, in a “complex external operation,” without naming the location.

It was not immediately clear if Turkish authorities were involved, and there was no immediate reaction from Ankara.

The US had offered a reward of up to $5 million for the capture of Jaburi.

The US Rewards for Justice program said Jaburi had “reportedly served as the equivalent of … finance minister (for IS), supervising the group’s revenue-generating operations from illicit sales of oil, gas, antiquities and minerals.”

In September 2015 the US Treasury labeled Jaburi as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist.

ISIL took over one-third of Iraq in a lightning offensive in 2014, expanding their self-declared “caliphate” stretching across the Syrian border.

Iraq’s government declared victory against the jihadists in late 2017 after a grinding military campaign backed by a US-led military coalition.

Baghdadi was killed in a raid by US special forces in northwestern Syria in October 2019.

ISIL sleeper cells still periodically launch attacks in Iraq, against both the security forces and civilians.

According to an official from the US-led coalition who spoke on condition of anonymity, IS is now “stretched” financially and its operations in Iraq are “very localized.”

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