Wife of Slain ISIS Leader Captured, Turkey’s President Says

The wife of late ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was captured, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced on Nov. 6.

“We captured his wife but we didn’t make a big fuss. I am announcing it here for the first time. At the same time we captured his sister and brother in law in Syria,” Erdogan said during a speech at Ankara University.

The president didn’t give other details, such as the woman’s name.

Al-Baghdadi was known to have four wives, according to The Associated Press.

Undated handout photo made available by unnamed government sources showing a 65-year-old woman known as Rasmiya Awad, who is the sister of the slain leader of the Islamic State group Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Awad was captured in a raid Monday evening on a trailer container she was living in with her family near the town of Azaz in Aleppo province. (Handout via AP)

The capture came two days after the sister of al-Baghdadi was captured in Azaz, a town in northern Syria.

Turkey was interrogating the dead terrorist’s sister, 65-year-old Rasmiya Awad, along with her husband and daughter-in-law.

“We hope to gather a trove of intelligence from Baghdadi’s sister on the inner workings of ISIS,” a Turkish official told Reuters.

“The arrest of al-Baghdadi’s sister is yet another example of the success of our counter-terrorism operations,” Fahrettin Altun, Turkey’s communications director, added in a statement. “Much dark propaganda against Turkey has been circulating to raise doubts about our resolve against Daesh. Our strong counter-terrorism cooperation with like-minded partners can never be questioned.”

Al-Baghdadi blew himself up after American forces stormed his remote compound in northern Syria near Turkey in late October, American officials have said.

DNA testing confirmed the ISIS leader’s identity.

The compound of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is seen moments before an air strike in the Idlib region of Syria from video taken on Oct. 26, 2019. (U.S. Department of Defense/Reuters)

ISIS later confirmed the death of al-Baghdadi. Abu Hassan al-Muhajir, a close aide of al-Baghdadi and a spokesman for the group since 2016, was killed in a separate mission.

The group’s new spokesman, named Abu Hamza al-Qurayshi, said the new leader is Abu Ibrahim Hashimi al-Quraishi. President Donald Trump later said the United States knows who the man is.

During the raid of al-Baghdadi’s compound, the United States took two prisoners.

Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said the operation “was the culmination of a multiyear, interagency effort to find him and then capture or kill him.”

“Baghdadi and the thugs who follow him were responsible for some of the most brutal atrocities of our time,” he said. “His death marks a devastating blow for the remnants of ISIS, who are now deprived of their inspirational leader, following the destruction of their physical caliphate earlier this year.”

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Author: Zachary Stieber