There is some confusion following 24 hours of conflicting reports about the possible capture of a wife of ISIS leader al-Baghdadi.
Lebanese officials announced Tuesday that the army captured the wife and daughter of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi after crossing the border from Syria nine days ago. According to Reuters, Lebanese officials identified her as an Iraqi woman by the name of Saja al-Dulaimi. It was reported that she had been detained due to a fake passport.
The Reuters report had two pieces of curious information, first, that discussions have involved the family members being used as leverage. More notably, it was revealed that a DNA test was used to confirm the link to Baghdadi.
A Lebanese security source said the arrest was “a powerful card to apply pressure” in negotiations to secure the release of 27 members of the Lebanese security forces captured by Islamic militants – a view shared by other Lebanese officials who confirmed the arrest.
However, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry dismissed any suggestion that Washington might also try to use similar tactics to free prisoners. “We do not engage in that type of negotiation. Period,” he told a news conference in Brussels.
A senior Lebanese security official said Baghdadi’s wife had been traveling with one of their daughters, contradicting earlier reports that it was his son. DNA tests were conducted to verify it was Baghdadi’s child, the official said.
They were detained in northern Lebanon after Baghdadi’s wife was found with a fake passport, officials said. Investigators were questioning her at the Lebanese defense ministry.
Hours after the annoucements by Lebanese officials, a significant attack on a Lebanese army patrol was reported in the border region with Syria.
Gunmen killed at least six Lebanese soldiers when they attacked an army patrol near the border with Syria on Tuesday, the army and a Lebanese security source said.
The source said the gunmen crossed from Syria to the mountainous border town of Ras Baalbek after dark and ambushed the patrol. Clashes between gunmen and a special army unit erupted after the attack and the army was able to retrieve the bodies of six of its soldiers.
“Six bodies just arrived at the local hospital of the town of Ras Baalbek,” he told Reuters.
Wednesday, security officials in Iraq poured cold water on that report with relative certainty.
Iraq’s Interior Ministry said on Wednesday that a woman detained by Lebanese authorities was not the wife of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, but the sister of a man convicted of bombings in southern Iraq.
“The one detained by Lebanese authorities was Saja Abdul Hamid al-Dulaimi, sister of Omar Abdul Hamid al-Dulaimi who is detained by authorities and sentenced to death for his participation in … explosions,” ministry spokesman Brigadier General Saad Maan told Reuters.
“The wives of the terrorist al-Baghdadi are Asmaa Fawzi Mohammed al-Dulaimi and Esraa Rajab Mahel al-Qaisi, and there is no wife in the name of Saja al-Dulaimi,” he said.
Maan said Saja Dulaimi had fled to Syria where she was detainees by authorities. She was part of a group of female detainees freed in exchange for the release of a group of nuns captured by Islamist rebels in Syria, he said.
It sounds like someone is not playing by the propaganda playbook and somewhere, someone’s DNA testing equipment needs to be recalibrated.
The more likely impact was best summarized by Zero Hedge
Then again, since Baghdadi has three wives, two Iraqis and one Syrian, according to tribal sources in Iraq, any leverage that the capture of one of his wives may provide will likely be offset by the dilution of the other two wives who are still out in the wild.
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