Iraqi security forces have arrested a senior Islamic State (IS) leader who previously served as deputy to the group’s slain leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, Iraq’s Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi has announced.
Sami Jasim al-Jaburi, nicknamed “Abu Asia” and “Abu Abdul Qadir al-Zubaidi,” was one of the highest-ranking members of IS and served under al-Baghdadi in the city of Mosul, northern Iraq. According to a statement released by the Iraqi Prime Ministry’s security media office, al-Jaburi oversaw the “financial and economic affairs” of the terror group.
Kadhmi revealed al-Jaburi’s arrest in a tweet on Monday, in what he described as a “complex external operation” without giving any detail on where the IS leader was captured.
Sami Jasim al-Jaburi following his capture. Photo: Obtained by VICE World News
However, an Iraqi security source told VICE World News that al-Jaburi was arrested in a military raid in Syria, following an operation in coordination with the US-led anti-IS coalition in the country. Al-Jaburi was given up by another IS member who was recently captured, the source said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to talk publicly about the operation.
Al-Jaburi has been on a list of US-designated terrorists since 2015 with a $5 million bounty on his head. He played an “instrumental role in managing finances for ISIS’s terrorist operations,” an entry on the Rewards for Justice website, administered by the US State Department, says.
“While serving as ISIS deputy in southern Mosul in 2014, he reportedly served as the equivalent of ISIS’s finance minister, supervising the group’s revenue-generating operations from illicit sales of oil, gas, antiquities, and minerals,” the text continues.
Iraqi security forces released this image of Sami Jasim al-Jaburi following his capture.
ISIS was declared territorially defeated in Iraq in 2017 and in Syria in 2019, but remnants of the group well entrenched in rural areas on both sides of the border carrying sporadic attacks that have increased over the summer, according to the latest report by the Pentagon on the group.
The news of his arrest came following parliamentary elections in Iraq held on Sunday with a historically low turnout.