Sami Jassem al-Ajuz, he chief financial and economic official for the Islamic State, was arrested in Syria
Iraq says it has captured the Islamic State’s finance chief, a rare arrest of a major ISIS figure that could produce significant intelligence gains against the group as it struggles to re-emerge, the New York Times reports.
Iraqi security forces said in a statement on Monday that they had arrested Sami Jassem al-Ajuz “by a major action by our forces in the National Intelligence Service and a special operation outside our borders.”
They did not say when the arrest took place, or where. But a senior Iraqi intelligence official, who asked not to be identified because he was not authorized to speak with the media, said Mr. al-Ajuz had been captured across the border in Syria.
The Iraqi statement described Mr. al-Ajuz as the chief financial and economic official for the Islamic State. It said he was a top aide to the current head of the group and a former deputy to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the ISIS leader who was killed in a U.S. raid in 2019 in northwestern Syria.
Al-Baghdadi declared a caliphate extending through Iraq and Syria after ISIS conquered parts of those countries in 2014. By 2019, the group had lost all of that territory, but thousands of its fighters went underground. It now maintains sleeper cells as it works to regenerate.
The U.S. State Department has offered a reward of up to $5 million for information leading to the capture of Mr. al-Ajuz, describing him as instrumental in handling ISIS finances. It gave his name as Sami Jasim Muhammad al-Jaburi, using his tribal name rather than his family name.
© Copyright LaPresse