Iraqi security forces captured the Islamic State terror group’s finance chief and former deputy leader Sami Jasim al-Jaburi on Monday.
Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi announced the capture in a Monday Twitter post. Kadhimi tweeted, “While our [Iraqi Security Force] heroes focused on securing the elections, their INIS colleagues were conducting a complex external operation to capture Sami Jasim, who was in charge of Daesh finance, and a deputy of Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi. Long live Iraq, and our brave heroes.”
In another translated tweet, Kadhimi said the mission to capture went outside of Iraq’s borders, though he did not specify the country in which the operation took place. While Kadhimi did not specify where Jaburi was arrested, a senior Iraqi military source told AFP the operation took place in neighboring Turkey.
The Department of Justice has listed a $5 million reward on their Rewards for Justice website for information leading to Jaburi’s capture. Jaburi is also known as Hajji Hamid.
CBS News reported Jaburi was a deputy to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who killed himself after U.S. special operations troops raided his compound in Syria in October of 2019. Jaburi is believed to have remained close to the group’s current commander, Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurashi. According to the DOJ, Jaburi also served as the equivalent of ISIS’ finance minister since 2014 and oversaw the group’s revenue streams, including illicit sales of oil, gas, antiquities, and minerals.
According to the DOJ, Jaburi was a legacy member of the terror group known as Al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), the predecessor organization to the modern-day Islamic State (ISIS) terror group. Jaburi was captured by U.S. forces in 2005 and spent the ensuing five years in a U.S.-run prison in Iraq before rejoining AQI in 2011 before its evolution into the modern-day ISIS terror organization.
In March 2019, ISIS lost its last territorial stronghold in Baghouz, Syria.
Fadhil Abu Ragheef, an Iraqi security and political analyst, told CBS News, “After ISIS territories were liberated, al-Jaburi escaped the region and smuggled himself to eastern Europe, but he returned to the region after he failed to smuggle his family to Europe.”
An Iraqi intelligence official told CBS News that Jaburi’s arrest would send a message to ISIS’ remaining leadership structure that Iraq’s security forces could infiltrate their networks and track them down no matter where they hide. The official also said Jaburi’s arrest would also provide valuable insights into how the terrorist group funds its operations and who its financial backers around the world are.