The three-month long U.S.-Iraqi intelligence operation has produced meaningful results as Iraq announced Thursday it had captured five senior ISIS officials.
The U.S.-led coalition in the fight against ISIS insurgents released a statement confirming the news, using an Arabic term for the terror group.
According to The New York Times, the officials, who have been hiding in Syria and Turkey, included a top aide to ISIS leader Abu Bakr Baghdadi known as Ismail Alwaan Ithawi.
It was gathered that Iraqi forces had reportedly sent information on Ithaw to Turkish authorities, who arrested him in February and then moved him to Iraq.
Subsequently, Ithawi was then interrogated by Iraqi and American forces in an effort to get information on the other official’s whereabouts.
Afterwards, the U.S.-led coalition then used the intel to launch an airstrike last month that took the lives of 39 suspected ISIS militants in Syria, according to the Times.
Officials then got Ithawi to persuade the other ISIS members to move closer to a trap set up by Iraqi and American forces, which led to their arrest.
This development signals a strengthening in the partnership between U.S. and Iraqi forces in the fight against ISIS, as well as a major intelligence blow against the group, says a U.S. official.