Iraq: US commandoes capture Daesh leader

3rd Mar 2016
Iraq: US commandoes capture Daesh leader

By Kasim Ileri and Michael Hernandez

 

WASHINGTON (AA): US special forces deployed to Iraq have captured a key Daesh operative, unnamed officials told American media.

The Pentagon declined to comment on the capture operation that was first reported by New York Times and CNN.

“As the Secretary said on Monday, the ETF [expeditionary targeting force] has begun operations in Iraq, but we will not discuss the details of those missions when it risks compromising operational security,” Maj. Roger Cabiness, a Pentagon spokesman, told Anadolu Agency.

He noted that one of the goals of the‎ Delta commandoes was to capture Daesh leaders, adding that “any detention [by U.S. forces] would be short-term and coordinated with Iraqi authorities”.

According to the New York Times, the suspect is currently being interrogated by U.S. forces at prison in Erbil, the capital of the Kurdish regional government in northern Iraq.

Quoting defense officials, the daily said the suspect will be turned over to Iraqi or Kurdish authorities in coming days.

The White House ruled out that any captured Daesh figures would be sent to the prison facility at Guantanamo Bay and did not confirm whether the U.S. had carried out the operation.

Amid reports of the operation, Vice President Joe Biden reaffirmed America’s “unwavering commitment” to Iraq in the fight against Daesh and “continued U.S. support as Iraq seeks to stabilize and strengthen its economy”, during a telephone call Wednesday with Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi, according to the White House.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter late last year announced the special forces deployment. He said the troops would “conduct raids, free hostages, gather intelligence, and capture ISIL leaders,” as part of a revision of the anti-Daesh strategy.

The Pentagon also deployed approximately 50 special operation forces in Syria to assist and advise anti-Daesh forces in the north, including the PYD, Turkmens and Syrian Arabs.

 

[Iraq: Iraqi-troops who are supported by the US forces in Ramadi el-Hoz-neighbourhood fighting Daesh. 26 December 2015. Photographer: Ali Mohammed/AA]

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