Lebanese army detains ISIS leader’s wife and child: security sources

Al-Akhbar is currently going through a transitional phase whereby the English website is available for Archival purposes only. All new content will be published in Arabic on the main website (www.al-akhbar.com).

Al-Akhbar Management

Published Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Updated at 4:45 pm (GMT+2): The Lebanese army detained the wife and young child of Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi near the Syrian border 10 days ago, a security source said on Tuesday.

A senior Lebanese security official said Baghdadi's wife had been traveling with one of their children, although there were contradictory reports over the child's gender. DNA tests were conducted to verify it was Baghdadi's child, the official said. The child is said to be eight years old.

Lebanese security officials, contacted by Lebanese newspaper As-Safir, declined to give the name or nationality of the woman whom they described as one of his wives.

The woman was identified by a military source who confirmed the arrest as a Syrian national, according to AFP. But a senior Lebanese political source and security official told Reuters that the woman was identified as Saja al-Dulaimi, an Iraqi citizen who was one of 150 women released from a Syrian government jail in March as part of a prisoner swap that led to the release of 13 nuns taken captive by al Qaeda-linked militants in Syria.

A source with contacts with Iraqi intelligence told Reuters the captured woman was an Iraqi wife of Baghdadi's, but could not confirm the name. There was cooperation between Iraqi and Lebanese authorities leading up to her capture, the source said.

As-Safir reported that the army had detained her in coordination with "foreign intelligence apparatus."

The As-Safir report added that Baghdadi’s wife and child were using fake identification documents in order to cross the Lebanese-Syrian border. They are currently held in the Ministry of National Defense headquarters in Yarze, just outside of the capital Beirut.

A CV of Baghdadi published on social media in July by Islamic State sympathizers described him as married but gave no further details. According to tribal sources in Iraq, Baghdadi has three wives, two Iraqis and one Syrian, although the veracity of this information remains unclear. In accordance with Islamic law, Baghdadi can have up to four wives.

There was no immediate reaction from ISIS websites, but an ISIS fighter denied that Baghdadi's wife had
been arrested, Reuters reported. "I have checked with our leaders and they said it was false news. The Lebanese are lying," he said from inside Syria.

The arrest is a blow to Baghdadi and could be used as a bargaining chip against his group which has captured many Lebanese, Iraqi and Syrian and foreign prisoners and declared a caliphate
across territory his group seized in Syria and Iraq.

ISIS has taken control of large swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria since June, and has been targeted by US-led coalition airstrikes, which have so far failed to stave off the group’s advances.

ISIS and al-Qaeda's al-Nusra Front – both militant groups fighting against President Bashar al-Assad’s government in neighboring Syria – attacked the Lebanese border town of Ersal in August and abducted at least 28 Lebanese soldiers and policemen.

Since then, ISIS beheaded two Lebanese soldiers, and Nusra shot a third.

Sources told Al-Akhbar in November that the fate of the hostages was no longer in the hands of militants in the Qalamoun area, where the soldiers are being held, but in the hands of ISIS leader and its self-proclaimed “caliph” Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

(Reuters, AFP, Al-Akhbar)

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