ISIS ‘Deputy’ Killed, Iraqi Prime Minister Says

By Reuters
January 30, 2021Middle East
ISIS ‘Deputy’ Killed, Iraqi Prime Minister Says
Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi speaks to the media during a press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany on Oct. 20, 2020. (Christian Marquardt-Pool/Getty Images)

DUBAI—Iraqi security forces have killed Abu Yaser al-Issawi, an ISIS commander who had claimed to be the leader of the group in Iraq and its “deputy caliph”, Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi said on Thursday.

“Our heroic armed forces have eliminated Daesh commander Abu Yaser Al-Issawi as part of an intelligence-led operation,” Kadhimi tweeted.

“If this is indeed confirmed, it’s significant news, al-Issawi headed up IS’s entire Iraq operation,” tweeted Charles Lister, a director at the Middle East Institute think tank in Washington. “It’s worth awaiting more substantive evidence (..) previous claims have turned out to have been false.”

Last week, the ISIS terrorist group claimed responsibility for a twin suicide bombing that killed at least 32 people in a crowded Baghdad market. It was the first big suicide bombing in Iraq for three years.

Iraqi authorities said the attack was a possible sign of the group reviving after its military defeat in 2017.

Suicide attacks on civilian targets were a near-daily tactic of the mainly Sunni Muslim insurgents during the U.S. occupation of Iraq after the invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein in 2003.

Many of the fighters were later recruited by ISIS, whose insurgents swept across a third of Iraq in 2014.

By 2017, however, ISIS terrorists had been driven from all territory they held in Iraq. Their paramount leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, died in 2019 during a U.S. raid in neighboring Syria.

By Maher Chmaytelli

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