The finance chief of the Islamic State was captured in northern Iraq by Kurdish peshmerga forces, Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi announced Thursday. U.S. officials confirmed the arrest. The head of ISIS’s finance branch was an engineer with a European passport and lived near Mosul in his hometown of Raqqa, the extremist group’s former capital. His capture represents a major blow to the terrorist group’s finances, and could allow Iraqi forces to press their assault on the city of Fallujah, which ISIS is besieged in. Last month, authorities accused an Iraqi citizen of conducting a bomb attack against the front line. It was unclear whether he was also the finance chief.
The new funds could help the Iraqi government reclaim its losses in the battle for Fallujah. It has struggled to gain control of the area since the offensive began in May. Abdul Mahdi said Thursday that recent military successes have given the government more hope that it will ultimately reclaim the city. “The operation is on track and progress is expanding,” he said at a news conference, AFP reported. “The real competition is now in Fallujah.” Despite rumors of an attack, Fallujah police said there were no more than 20 militants in the city.
Federal forces have previously stated that they intend to retake Fallujah as quickly as possible. Iraqi President Barham Salih has said that the only way to end the internal war in the country is by defeating ISIS. U.S. officials have praised the Iraqi military, but said that the plan to liberate Fallujah cannot be rushed. “There is a long road ahead in that effort, and it’s a long road because ISIS did great damage to not only the city of Fallujah, but the country as a whole,” President Trump said at a news conference last month.
The Islamic State has been steadily losing ground since losing Mosul and Raqqa, the two largest cities in Iraq. Turkey, a major NATO ally, has bombed Kurdish troops who are now battling Islamic State in Syria.
Read the full story at Yahoo News.
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