Some of the key information that led U.S. Special Forces to the hideout of Islamic State (ISIS) leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi came from the wife of an al-Baghdadi aide and one of the couriers the ISIS leader paid in order to avoid using mobile phones and computers.
U.S. officials said the al-Baghdadi aide’s wife and the courier were captured in western Iraq and, under interrogation, gave up names and locations that were key to tracking down the terror chief.
Based on information provided by the two captives, the CIA and Iraqi and Kurdish intelligence officers began recruiting agents along the routes that al-Baghdadi traveled in the desert area near the Syrian-Iraqi border, Time.com reported. “Officials began surveilling routes he used, places he stopped, and looking for patterns to his travel, including his brief stays in small villages such as the one where he died,” the report said.
Another key source in locating al-Baghdadi was Mohammad Ali Sajit, an associate of the ISIS leader who revealed al-Baghdadi’s position to the Iraqi Intelligence Agency, Al Araybia reported on Oct. 28.
Sajit said that al-Baghdadi thought he was fully protected and believed he had sufficient security measures.
“Al-Baghdadi wanted to change his location, wanted to leave the Syria-Iraq border but did not know how to do it,” the former associate said. “He was staying in a tunnel-like bunker eight feet long and five feet wide.”
Meanwhile, Amos Yadlin, a former head of Israeli military intelligence who currently heads the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) in Tel Aviv, wrote in a Twitter thread that ISIS ceased being a territorial entity two years ago when it lost Mosul and Raqqa.
“For us Israelis, the threat from ISIS is secondary,” Yadlin said. “We would like to see the U.S. act in a similar way against [Iranian Quds force commander Qassem] Soleimani, and [Hizbullah head Hassan] Nasrallah.”