A security mission near the city of inner Samarra in Iraq has led to the arrest of the two relatives of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. A group from the Regiment Special Assignments has managed to detain the ISIS leader’s uncle Saleh Ibrahim Abdulmomen and the husband of al-Baghdadi’s niece Dhiya Nuori Sadoun.
Al Arabiya reports that Iraqi state television was told of the arrest by a security source from the southern Dhi Qar governorate’s police. The state-owned television channel had quoted an Iraqi government security official who confirmed the arrests of the two relatives known to be top-level ISIS commanders.
The recent arrests of the two high-ranking commanders follows the launch of a fresh new military operation launched by Iraqi forces in the Anbar province. The U.S.-led coalition has launched at least three new air strikes against ISIS and another eight in Iraq in an attempt to weaken the hold of militants in large swathes of land.
Meanwhile, foreign fighters from Western countries have joined Iraqi militia to help fight ISIS militants. Thousands of foreigners have traveled to Iraq and Syria in the last two years. While most have joined ISIS fighters, some were discovered to have enlisted with a group known as the Dwekh Nawsha.
The militia’s name means “self-sacrifice” in the ancient Aramaic language spoken by Jesus Christ. The language is still being used by Assyrian Christians who think of themselves as the indigenous people of Iraq, according to Reuters. Dwekh Nawsha fights ISIS militants alongside the Kurdish peshmerga forces to protect Christian villages in Nineveh from being overrun.
A U.S. army veteran who has asked to withheld his true name told Reuters that he has recently returned to Iraq and joined a Christian militia fighting ISIS. The 28-year-old man believes the fight against ISIS has turned into a biblical war between good and evil.
A British man and an American software engineer had also wanted to make a difference in fighting the radical group. Tim, 38, had closed his construction business in the UK in 2014 and bought two tickets to Iraq for himself and another American he met online.
The two men met at the Dubai airport where they took a plane to the Kurdish city of Suleimaniyah. Tim said he wanted to make a difference and help put an end to ISIS’ “atrocities.” Scott, the software engineer from the U.S., had served in the U.S. army in the 1990s. He said he was mesmerised by videos and images of ISIS persecuting the Yazidis and planned to join the Kurdish YPG militia. Scott changed his mind when he heard about the group’s ties with the Kurdistan Worker’s Party. Both Scott and Tim ended up with Dwekh Nawsha.
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