Senior Turkish officials said ISIS’s new leader has been captured in a recent raid in Istanbul.
Anti-terrorism police and intelligence agents detained a man they believe has led the extremist group since its previous chief was killed in a US operation in Syria in February, the officials said, asking not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the matter.
Turkish news website OdaTV identified the arrested man as Abu al-Hassan al-Qurayshi without saying how it obtained the information. Previous reports have given a similar name for the new ISIS leader.
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Bloomberg News couldn’t independently verify the identity of the man detained by Turkish authorities.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been informed of his capture, the officials said Thursday. He’s expected to announce the arrest in the coming days, OdaTV said.
The officials said the terrorist leader was captured following lengthy police surveillance of a house where he was staying. OdaTV said police didn’t open fire during the raid.
Turkish forces have clashed with ISIS militants at home and in neighboring Syria over recent years, ousting the extremist fighters from several towns near Turkey’s border.
News of the detention also came as Ankara is signaling plans for a fresh operation into Syrian territory to confront Kurdish YPG forces backed by the US but viewed as terrorists by Turkey for their links to an autonomy-seeking militant group at home.
The YPG received western support as one of the most effective forces fighting to dismantle ISIS.
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