Iraqi forces capture five top ISIS leaders in cross-border raid

Final push to 'destroy Islamic State' in Syria underway Coalition

A US national security official said there were no indications that the operation had captured Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS who has always been the coalition's top target.

President Trump announced Thursday morning five ISIS leaders have been captured.

Hashimi described Eithawi and Jamal as the two most senior Islamic State figures ever to be captured alive.

According to the New York Times, a cross-border sting using intelligence from both the USA and Iraq has resulted in the capture of the five senior figures.

Hashimi said the operation was carried out in cooperation with U.S. forces, part of an American-led coalition fighting against Islamic State on both sides of the Iraqi-Syrian border.

Intelligence officers had tracked them for three months as they made their way through Turkey and Syria, the New York Times reported.

He thought to be hiding in eastern Syria and surrounded by only a small group of trusted followers, an Iraqi intelligence official said.

"The noose is tightening around him", Hashimi said, referring to Baghdadi, whose real name is Ibrahim al-Samarrai.

Iraqi agents who carried out the mission to capture the leaders were joined by members of an American-led coalition fighting against the Islamic State on both sides of the Iraqi-Syrian border.

Hashimi added that Iraqi forces used the Telegram messaging app on Eithawi's mobile phone, and managed to tempt a number of Daesh commanders in Syria to cross the border into Iraq, where they were arrested.

The militant group swept into Iraq in the summer of 2014, taking control of almost a third of the country. "It will neither allow Daesh militants to come back, nor a similar terrorist organization to appear, but Iraq doesn't mean to interfere in internal affairs of Syria", Abadi stated.

The news comes just after Islamic State militants re-pledged their loyalty to the group's leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi last month.

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