Iraq arrests ISIS finance chief wanted by US 'in Turkey'

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Protesters waving ISIS flags.
Protesters waving ISIS flags.
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  • Sami Jasim al-Jaburi, who according to the US served as the equivalent of "finance minister" for ISIS, was arrested in Turkey.
  • Jaburi is also the suspected former deputy to late ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
  • Details around Jaburi's arrest aren't clear, but the US had offered a reward of up to $5 million for his capture.

Baghdad – Iraq has captured the alleged finance chief of the Islamic State (ISIS) group, Sami Jasim al-Jaburi, who was sought by the United States, in an operation abroad, Iraqi authorities said on Monday.

Jaburi, also the suspected former deputy to the late ISIS 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 programme said Jaburi had "reportedly served as the equivalent of... finance minister (for ISIS), supervising the group's revenue-generating operations from illicit sales of oil, gas, antiquities and minerals".

Sleeper cells

In September 2015, the US Treasury Department labelled Jaburi as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist.

ISIS 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 north-western Syria in October 2019.

ISIS 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, ISIS is now "stretched" financially and its operations in Iraq are "very localised".

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