- Baghdadi’s 65-year-old sister, Rasmiya Awad, was detained Monday in the city of Azaz.
- "This kind of thing is an intelligence gold mine," an official told the AP.
- Experts say it is uncertain how much useful information she can tell and how much time she spent with her brother at all.
Turkish authorities have detained the sister of the former leader of the terrorist organization Islamic State Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Baghdadi committed suicide last month when the US special forces cornered him in a tunnel during an impromptu raid in northwestern Syria.
The terror group, Islamic State, in an audio tape made public on Thursday last week, confirmed that indeed its leader had been killed but vowed thorough revenge against the United States. Baghdadi’s 65-year-old sister, Rasmiya Awad, was detained Monday in the city of Azaz, located in northern Syria near the Turkey border.
Hope to Gather Information About IS
According to the AP news agency, Rasmiya Awad was found in a trailer where she lived with her husband, sister-in-law, and five children. “Rasmiya Awad, 65, was detained in a raid near Azaz, a Turkish official said, in reference to a Turkish-controlled Syrian border town. “This kind of thing is an intelligence gold mine. What she knows about (IS) can significantly expand our understanding of the group and help us catch more bad guys,” the official told the AP news.
According to Reuters, information on 65-year-old Rasmiya Awad is sparse, but experts say it is uncertain how much useful information she can tell and how much time she spent with her brother at all. “I don’t think she’d be privy to any imminent attack plans, but she might know smuggling routes. She might know networks that Baghdadi trusted, people that he trusted, networks in Iraq that helped her facilitate her own travel and her family’s travel,” Mike Pregent, a counter-terrorism expert at the Hudson Institute, told BBC World News. “This should be able to give our US intelligence and other allied intelligence officers a view into [IS] networks and how they moved family members, how they travelled and who they trusted.” He added.
IS has Named a New Leader
Baghdadi killed himself when US special forces last month struck against his hiding place in Syria. Baghdadi, along with three of his children, fled into a tunnel from which there was no exit. Squeezed into a corner, he chose to detonate a suicide vest.
On Thursday, Islamic State confirmed in an audio recording posted on the internet that the movement’s top leader was indeed no more. At the same time, Islamic State swore that the terrorist group would take revenge on the United States.
Islamic State has appointed a replacement for Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. The new leader is called Abu Ibrahim al-Hashemi al-Quraishi. Washington has confirmed that it is investigating his background and his whereabouts in general. The IS leader had five brothers and several sisters, but it is unclear whether all siblings are alive, as reported by The New York Times.