ONE OF THE ISLAMIC State’s senior leaders, who has headed the group’s financial arm since at least 2015, was captured in a “complex operation” by Iraq’s intelligence agency, according to announcements from Baghdad. Sami Jasim Muhammad al-Jaburi, also known by the name Abu Asya, has been close to senior Sunni Islamist figures since before the Islamic State emerged as a major player in Iraq and Syria. He is believed to have first met the Islamic State’s spiritual leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul in 2012.
Once the Islamic State began conquering large swathes of territory in the Middle East, and proclaimed itself the government of a self-styled emirate, Jasim was appointed treasurer. He also served as one of al-Baghdadi’s senior deputies until at least 2017. He survived the fall of the Islamic State’s proto-state, but continued serving in the organization’s financial arm under its current chief, Abdullah Qardash.
Jasim’s arrest was announced on Monday by Iraq’s Prime Minister, Mustafa al-Kadhimi, through his personal account on Twitter. According to the tweet, the Iraqi National Intelligence Services conducted “a complex external operation to capture Sami Jasim”. Notably, the Iraqi Armed Forces revealed in a follow-up tweet that Jasim had been captured outside of Iraq’s borders. But the tweet did not reveal the precise location where the Islamic State leader was captured, nor did it discuss any other aspects of the operation.
The United States government had offered a $5 million reward for information leading to Jasim’s capture. It is not known whether American intelligence agencies or troops played any role in Jasim’s capture.