Iraq captures alleged Islamic State finance chief in operation abroad

Iraq has captured the alleged finance chief of the Islamic State group, Sami Jasim al-Jaburi, who was sought by the US, in an operation abroad, Iraqi authorities have said.

Jaburi, also the suspected former deputy to the late IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, was arrested “in Turkey”, a senior Iraqi military source said.

The Iraqi prime minister, Mustafa al-Kadhimi, had earlier announced on Twitter that Jaburi had been 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 $5m (£3.7m) for the capture of Jaburi. The US Rewards for Justice programme said Jaburi had “reportedly served as the equivalent of … finance minister [for IS], supervising the group’s revenue-generating operations from illicit sales of oil, gas, antiquities and minerals”.

In September 2015, the US Treasury Department labelled Jaburi a “specially designated global terrorist”.

IS 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-west Syria in October 2019.

IS sleeper cells still periodically launch attacks in Iraq against the security forces and civilians.

According to an official from the US-led coalition who spoke on condition of anonymity, IS is now “stretched” financially and its operations in Iraq are “very localised”.

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