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Thursday, May 10, 2018
5 Top ISIS Terrorists Captured in Sting Operation
By David Martosko and Rory Tingle For Dailymail.com
A jubilant President Trump tweeted on Thursday to announce that five of the 'Most Wanted leaders of ISIS' have been captured after they were lured from Syria to Iraq with fake Telegram messages.
Iraqi officials used the cell phone of already captured ISIS lieutenant Ismail al-Eithawi to send instructions via the app for the four other leaders to come to Iraq, where they were seized.
The encrypted app was officially named by ISIS as one of its favored mobile messaging services in 2015 and has been regularly used by the terror group for private communication and to spread propaganda.
Al-Eithawi, who also uses the alias Abu Zaid al-Iraqi, was captured in February by Turkish intelligence and handed over to the Iraqis.
Eithawi was a direct aide to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, responsible for fund transfers to the group's bank accounts in different countries.
Saddam al-Jamal, a Syrian who was accused of taking part of a massacre in the province of Deir Ezzor in 2014 which killed 700 members of a tribe that rose up against ISIS, was the second most senior member to be captured.
Apart from al-Eithawi and al-Jamal, the operation captured three field commanders: Syrian Mohamed al-Qadeer and two Iraqis, Omar al-Karbouli and Essam al-Zawbai, Hashimi said.
Iraqi intelligence released images of the five men on national television on Wednesday.
Al-Eithawi and al-Jamal are the two most senior Islamic State figures ever to be captured alive.
The former served as ISIS governor in Syria's eastern Euphrates region and as a minister in charge of the group's so-called education department.
Al-Jamal, meanwhile, had previously been a commander in the Free Syrian Army and then leader of a western-allied 'moderate' Islamist group called Ahfab al-Rasoul.
This was effectively destroyed by ISIS following a military campaign, and al-Jamal reappeared in an ISIS video to say he had defected from his former group which he branded 'stooges' of the West, according to The London Times.
As head of ISIS in Deir Ezzor, he is accused of overseeing the murders of 700 members of the Shaitat tribe after it rebelled against ISIS.
Al-Jamal is said to have ordered the execution of children, sometimes in front of their parents.
The operation to snare the four was carried out in cooperation with U.S. forces, part of an American-led coalition fighting against Islamic State on both sides of the Iraqi-Syrian border.
Following Eithawi's capture, Iraqi and American intelligence agents were able to uncover bank accounts used by the group and also secret communication codes he used.
Baghdadi declared himself ruler of all Muslims in 2014 after capturing Iraq's main northern city Mosul.
He is now believed to be hiding in the Iraqi-Syrian border region after losing all the cities and towns of his self-proclaimed caliphate.
One of the captured men is a top aide to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (pictured preaching in 2016)
How Telegram became the app of choice for ISIS terrorists
Telegram is a free app that lets people exchange messages, photos and videos in groups of up to 5,000 people.
It has attracted more than 200 million users since its launch in 2013, promising end-to-end encryption and the ability to store data on the cloud rather than each individual device.
Although many of its users are political activists, groups such as ISIS favor the app because it allows them to communicate both in one-to-one chats and large public groups.
They use it to recruit members, raise money and coordinate terrorist activity. ISIS also set up large public groups to issue claims of responsibility, such as after the Manchester Arena terror attack, and broadcast news.
In 2015, Telegram was named on a list of recommended messaging applications released by the ISIS propaganda office, which lauded it for being 'secure'.
Telegram founder Pavel Durov dismissed concerns about ISIS using the app at a TechCrunch conference in September 2015, telling the audience that the 'right to privacy is more important than our fear of bad things happening'.
Just two months later, ISIS murdered 130 and wounded a further 350 in Paris during the deadliest attack on French soil since World War Two.
Telegram now claims to remove ISIS accounts from public channels but still refuses to intervene in private chats.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said last month he would 'take all necessary measures' against militants based in Syria.
The Iraqi air force has carried out several air strikes since last year against Islamic State positions in Syrian territory.
Abadi declared final victory last December over the ultra-hardline group within Iraq. But the militants still pose a threat along the border with Syria and have continued to carry out ambushes, killings and bombings across Iraq.
Islamic State militants last month restated their loyalty to Baghdadi, in what is believed to be their first public pledge of allegiance to him since his self-proclaimed caliphate collapsed last year in both Syria and Iraq.
Which proves they are just as stupid as they always were!
Iraqi state television broadcast images of four of the men arrested in the operation, including Saddam Al-Jamal, alongside Omar Al-Karbouli, Essam Al-Zawbai and Mohamed Al-Qadeer