ISIS’s last days in Iraq: Wife of a leader close to Baghdadi tells the story

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Stories about ISIS’s "last days in Iraq" have been circulating in Iraqi and Arab media as told by Faten al-Khalifawi, daughter of the internationally blacklisted terrorist Samir al-Khalifawi known as “Haji Bakr” and wife of the official spokesperson of ISIS.

Faten is known as “daughter of al-Haji” because of the high rank that her father had within the terrorist group.

He was a military commander in the previous Iraqi regime, then joined terrorist groups after 2003.

He was considered one of the closest people to leaders of these groups, until he reached ISIS where he was head of the group’s Military Council and was considered the second-in-command after Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

Faten is also the wife of the blacklisted terrorist "Abu Hassan," who became the official spokesperson after the main spokesperson “Abu Mohammed al-Adnani” was killed.

Faten, 26, recently stood in front of judge of a court that deals with terrorism cases, after the security forces arrested her near the province of Kirkuk.

She told her father’s story from the beginning, when he joined the terrorist groups after 2003. She said: “When we were living in Aleppo, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi asked my father to marry me to Abu Hassan, who was the personal assistant for Abu Mohammad al-Adnani and one of the closest people to him, and so we got married, and Baghdadi himself carried out the ceremony.”

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She added: “At the end of 2013, my husband and I had moved to al-Mayadeen area. At that time, the Free Syrian Army broke into my father’s house in Aleppo and after exchanging fire, they killed my father who was wearing an explosive belt. They also detained my mother and my two brothers Ahmed and Mohammed, but they were released after nine months in a deal between ISIS and the Turkish intelligence.”

Faten confirmed previous stories on targeting Baghdadi saying: “In the operation targeting the car of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, Abu Mohammad al-Adnani was killed. That is when my husband was appointed official spokesperson of ISIS by al-Baghdadi when he visited us in our house in Mayadeen. And after the airstrikes intensified in our area, we were forced to move to al-Bukamal city in Syria.

“We only stayed for a couple of months in al-Bukamal before Baghdadi asked us to move to al-Shaitat area, and that was because our house got targeted several times. In Shaitat, we lived in the house of ‘Hajji Khalaf’ with Baghdadi's family, which was composed of his four wives Um Khalid, Um Ruqayyah, Um Abdullah, and Um Obaida al-Shishaniyah,” she added.

She clarified, saying: “Baghdadi’s mother and daughters Wafaa, Ruqayyah and Fatima lived with us too. In addition to the family of Baghdadi’s detained brother ‘Haji Shamsi’. When we were forced to move again because of the airstrikes, the group wasn’t in control of any areas anymore, that’s why we went to refugee camps in Anbar Province (in Iraq), and from there we moved to Kirkuk to try to enter the province of Sulaymaniyah with fake papers and IDs, but the security forces figured out who we were and broke into the hotel we were staying in.”