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Wife, Son of ISIS Leader Arrested at Lebanon Border in 'High-Value Catch'

( [email protected] ) Dec 02, 2014 02:29 PM EST
The wife of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi has been arrested after crossing into Lebanon from Syria with fake documents, Lebanese security and military officials have said.
An image grab taken from a video released on July 5, 2014 by Al-Furqan Media shows alleged Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi preaching during Friday prayer at a mosque in Mosul. (Al-Furqan Media/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

The Lebanese army has detained the second wife of the Islamic State leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and their eight-year-old son near the Syrian border in what authorities are calling a "high-value catch."

The arrest reportedly took place in the past week and followed information provided by western intelligence agencies. The identity of the boy was confirmed through DNA testing; the US and other states have samples of Baghdadi's DNA from the nine months he spent in US custody in Iraq in 2004.

Al-Safir, the Lebanese news magazine, first announced the arrests and said that the wife has been detained for 10 days and questioned at Lebanon's Ministry of Defense where "investigations are ongoing."

The arrests were made amid the Lebanon's attempts to reach a prisoner-exchange deal between the Lebanon and ISIS and Al Qaeda's Nusra Front, who are holding and have threatened to kill more than 20 Lebanese soldiers.

Analysts in Iraq has said that while the arrests will not necessarily yield useful intelligence, Baghdadi's wife serve as a "bargaining chip" for Lebanese authorities in their attempts to win the freedom of the troops.

"It is close to impossible that she would have operational details," said an Iraqi intelligence officer. "But she could still be useful on things like locations."

According to The Guardian, the FBI has put a $10 million bounty on Baghdadi's head. The terrorist leader is known to move frequently across Iraq's north-west, where he has been the target of an intensive technical effort to track him by the US National Security Agency and Britain's GCHQ.

Reports that Baghdadi had been killed or wounded in a recent U.S. airstrike were refuted by him in an audio recording last month in which he called on followers to unleash "volcanoes of jihad."

ISIS has served as a significant threat to Iraq's central government and to the regime in Syria since sweeping through northern Iraq earlier this year, aiming to create an Islamic state across Sunni areas.

The group is known for killing dozens of people at a time, including women and children, and carrying out public executions. ISIS often targets religious minorities such as Yazidi and Christian groups.

While Iraqi and Syrian military counter offensives against the group has yielded some success and U.S.-led airstrikes have killed hundreds of insurgents, ISIS continues to hold a tight grip on the majority of areas in has invaded.

Tags : ISIS, Islamic State, capture, wife, Isis leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi