The Lebanese army has detained a wife and daughter of the Islamic State leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, as they crossed from Syria nine days ago, in a move seen as likely to put pressure on the Islamist chief, security officials said on Tuesday. Reuters has more:
The woman was identified as Saja al-Dulaimi, an Iraqi, by a Lebanese security official and a senior political source. The Lebanese newspaper As-Safir reported she had been detained in coordination with “foreign intelligence”.
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 in August near the Syrian border — a view shared by other Lebanese officials who confirmed the arrest.
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. Investigators were questioning her at the Lebanese defense ministry.There was no immediate reaction from Islamic State websites, although some of the group’s supporters rejected the report.
Fawaz Gerges, a Middle East expert at the London School of Economics, said the arrest indicated that the American-led coalition seems to have solid intelligence in Syria and Iraq.”