One of Abu Bakr al-Baghdad's closest confidants who provided important information that led US troops to the ISIS leader compound said his hiding tactics were excellent & # 39; excellent & # 39; were and described one of his underground bunkers as being filled with religious texts.
Mohammed Ali Sajet, who is connected to Baghdadi through marriage and has been an ISIS member since 2015, was arrested two months ago by Iraqi officials near Baghdad.
He allegedly told the Iraqi authorities about the possible location of Baghdad in Syria and also provided details about a courier who worked for the ISIS leader.
Sajet is one of the confidants who has provided information about Baghdadi that has helped US intelligence officials track down the notorious ISIS leader.
In an interview with ownership of Saudi Al Arabiya TV On Sunday, Sajet said the & # 39; tactics of hiding Baghdad were excellent & # 39 ;.
He described one of the hiding places in Baghdad, saying that it was an underground bunker full of religious texts.
Mohammed Ali Sajet, one of the closest confidants of Abu Bakr al-Baghdad, provided important information that led US troops to the compound of the ISIS leader in Syria
& # 39; He was in an 8 meter long underground tunnel with a width of 5 to 6 meters. It had a library, religious books and the Qur'an and the like, & said Sajet.
& # 39; It had lights and different things, so the hiding situation was good. & # 39;
It is not clear whether this was part of the same compound where Baghdadi was found on Saturday.
An Iraqi government official told CNN that Sajet had also provided information about a courier who worked for Baghdadi.
According to the official, the information provided by Saget led to the capture of Baghdad in Syria on Saturday evening when American troops stormed his compound.
Baghdadi blew himself up after he was cornered by American forces in a dead-end underground tunnel in his Syrian compound.
The Iraqi official said they started following the courier and his wife after Saget had given up the details while in custody.
The courier was killed in a subsequent raid, but his wife led the Iraqi authorities to another location where they could find further information that led them to Baghdadi.
According to the source, Iraqi officials then tipped the Americans.
American and Iraqi officials had followed Baghdadi and collected information from sources for six months.
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi blew himself up after being cornered by American forces in a dead-end underground tunnel in his Syrian compound on Saturday night
After al-Baghdadi was confirmed dead, US troops grabbed every computer, every phone, every piece of paper they could find before they withdrew. The last action was to declare an air strike by American drones, reducing Baghdad & # 39; s hiding place to rubble, wiping it off the face of the earth and covering their tracks
Two Iraqi security officials say that one of Baghdad's best assistants has also sold him to intelligence officials by providing information about how the leader had managed to evade the capture for so many years.
In their long hunt for al-Baghdadi, the Iraqi secret teams provided a break in February 2018 after Assistant Ismael Ethawi gave them essential information.
Ethawi told the officials after he was arrested by the Turkish authorities and handed over to the Iraqis that Baghdadi would sometimes hold strategic consultations with his commanders in moving minibuses full of vegetables to prevent detection.
& # 39; Ethawi provided valuable information that helped the Iraqi team of multi-security agencies complete the missing pieces of the puzzle of the movements and places of Baghdad that he used to hide, & # 39 ;, said one of the Iraqi security officials.
& # 39; Ethawi gave us details about five men, including him, who met Baghdadi in Syria and the different locations they used. & # 39;
The path to the fall of Baghdad was full of frustration for Western and Arab intelligence services, who found clues about the whereabouts of a man who imposed a reign of terror over a large strip of Syria and Iraq and ordered his men to carry out mass executions and decapitation.
The turning of militants such as Ethawi was crucial for the agents who tried to follow Baghdadi.
Ethawi, who holds a PhD in Islamic sciences, was considered by Iraqi intelligence officials to be one of the top five leaders.
He joined Al Qaida in 2006 and was arrested in 2008 by US forces and imprisoned for four years by Iraqi security officials.
Baghdadi later dedicated Ethawi with key roles such as giving religious instructions and the selection of commanders of the Islamic State. After the group had largely collapsed in 2017, Ethawi fled to Syria with his Syrian wife.
Al-Baghdadi, the leader of the so-called Islamic Caliphate, blew himself up during the targeted attack on his army in the province of Idlib in Syria in the early hours of Sunday morning. His army was in a village known for smuggling and arrived 48 hours before the raid
An aerial photo of the site taken shows the damage caused by the helicopter on the site where al-Baghdadi thought to have lived
Another turning point came earlier this year during a joint operation in which US, Turkish, and Iraqi intelligence services captured leading leaders of the Islamic State, including four Iraqis and one Syrian, Iraqi security officials said.
& # 39; They have given us all the locations where they met Baghdadi in Syria and we have decided to coordinate with the CIA to deploy more resources in these areas & # 39 ;, said one of the Iraqi officials, who have close ties has with multiple security agencies.
& # 39; Mid-2019, we succeeded in locating Idlib as the place where Baghdadi moved with his family and three close associates from village to village, & # 39; said the officer.
Informants in Syria then saw an Iraqi man with a checkered hat at an Idlib marketplace and recognized him in a photo, the official said. They followed him to the house where Baghdadi was staying.
& # 39; We have communicated the details to the CIA and they have used satellite and drones to view the location in the last five months, & # 39; said the officer.
Two days ago, Baghdadi left the location with his family for the first time with a minibus to a nearby village.
& # 39; There it was his last moment to live, & # 39; said the official.
Baghdadi was also fleeing from local enemies in Syria.
Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, the group formerly known as the Nusra front and dominating Idlib, set up its own search for Baghdadi after receiving information that he was in the area, according to a commander in a jihadist group of Idlib .
The Nusra front and the Islamic state were rivals who fought bloody battles against each other in the Syrian war.
Trump saw the raid unfold from the situation room. He was accompanied by National Security Advisor Robert C. O & Brien, vice-president Mike Pence, defense minister. Mark T. Esper and the US Army General Mark A. Milley
The Nusra Front, founded by Abu Mohamad al-Golani, was the official branch of Al Qaeda in Syria until it detached itself from the global jihadist network in 2016.
According to the Idlib commander, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham recently captured an assistant to Baghdadi, known as Abu Suleiman al-Khalidi, one of the three men who saw Baghdadi in his last video message.
The conquest of Khalidi was & # 39; the key & # 39; in the search for Baghdadi, the commander said.
His comments raised the possibility that Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, who the local population says is in contact with Turkish forces in northwestern Syria, may have passed on what it has learned to other intelligence services.
Baghdadi may have concluded that going into hiding in Idlib was his best hope after the Islamic State was virtually eradicated in Iraq and Syria. He could have been absorbed, while lax security and checkpoints of armed groups that rarely search for vehicles increase his chances of survival, the commander said.
He said that Baghdadi had reportedly been in Idlib for about six months, and that his main reason for being there was trying to hide. But he said that Baghdadi was still seen as a major threat because his presence would have attracted supporters in an area where the Islamic State has sleeping cells.
Hayat Tahrir al-Sham hunters invaded the city of Sarmin about two months ago after receiving information about the fact that Baghdadi was there, but according to the commander he was not found.
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