Iraq: Palestinian-US member of ISIS surrenders

2016-03-14 19:19


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Irbil - A Palestinian-American member of the Islamic State group on Monday gave himself up to an Iraqi Kurdish military unit in the country's north, an Iraqi Kurdish general said.

The circumstances of the surrender were not fully disclosed but it marked a rare instance in which an ISIS fighter voluntarily gave himself up to Iraqi or Kurdish forces in Iraq. In neighbouring Syria, meanwhile, Syrian Kurdish fighters battling the Islamic State, have told The Associated Press that they are seeing an increase in the number of ISIS members surrendering following recent territorial losses.

Major General Feisal Helkani of the Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga forces, which are playing a key role along with the Iraqi military in battling ISIS, identified the individual who surrendered as Mohammed Jamal Amin.

Helkani said the man is a Palestinian-American who has been fighting with ISIS in Iraq and who surrendered on Monday morning near the town of Sinjar, which was retaken by Iraqi forces from ISIS militants late last year.

According to Helkani, Amin was carrying with him a large amount of cash, three cellphones and three forms of identification, including a US driver's license. The ISIS fighter is currently being held by the peshmerga troops for interrogation, Helkani added.

The Iraqi Kurdish general did not provide further details or a hometown or state for the Palestinian-American.

Last week, Brett McGurk, President Barack Obama's envoy to the US-led coalition fighting the Islamic State group, announced that ISIS had lost more than 3 000km² of territory in Syria and more than 600 fighters over the past month.

In Iraq, the Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for a series of suicide attacks that have killed more than 170 people over the past few weeks. Iraqi officials also say the group has launched a number of chemical weapons attacks.

Local officials in the town of Taza in Iraq's north say a recent attack injured more than 600 people. The attacks follow a string of advances by Iraqi forces backed by US-led airstrikes, including in the western city of Ramadi, which was declared fully "liberated" by Iraqi and US-led coalition officials last month.

ISIS still controls large swaths of land in Iraq and Syria and has declared an Islamic "caliphate" on the territory it holds. The extremist group also controls Iraq's second largest city, Mosul, as well as the city of Fallujah, 65km west of Baghdad.

Read more on:    isis  |  iraq  |  us  |  palestine

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