American and Iraqi intelligence operatives recently captured five top-level ISIS officials during a three-month sting operation Iraqi officials told the New York Times on May 9, an operation that reportedly involved a senior aide to ISIS chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, "persuaded" by the American and Iraqi intelligence officials, calling up his fellow ISIS goons and "lure them across the border" from Syria into Iraq, where they were promptly arrested.
- Big fish: The captured ISIS officials were reportedly responsible for "governing the [ISIS] territory around Deir al-Zour, Syria, directing internal security and running the administrative body that oversees religious rulings," per the New York Times.
- Meet Abu Zeid al-Iraqi:Described as chief of ISIS's 'mandatory committee' that supervised the administrative and security operations in Iraq and Syria and a "top aide" to al-Baghdadi, al-Iraqi was reportedly first captured earlier this year after several airstrikes neutralized several of the ISIS chief's top deputies. In fact, according to the Times, it was Turkish security forces who arrested and extradited him back to Iraq in February.
- Saddam al-Jammel: The Times described the Syrian citizen as the head of ISIS territory around the strategically-important eastern Syrian town of Deir ez-Zor. His capture bodes well for the U.S.-backed Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) currently gearing up to fuck some skulls in and stamp ISIS out of one of its final footholds in the country.
- And ... others? The New York Times reports that Abu Abdel al-Haq, "an Iraqi who had been the head of internal security for the group," was the third captive, along with two unnamed Iraqis. But Reuters, citing Iraqi state TV, identified the other three captives as Mohamed al-Qadeer, Omar al-Karbouli, and Essam al-Zawba. We'll likely see some clarification in the coming weeks.
The Times claims the whole operations "underscores the strengthening relationship between Washington and Baghdad," but the real takeaway is that ISIS leaders are backstabbing goons. Good times!