President Donald Trump tweeted on Thursday morning that five of the most wanted Islamic State group leaders have been captured, adding to what many in the media noted has been a strong week of accomplishment for his administration.
The New York Times reported, “Five senior Islamic State officials have been captured, including a top aide to the group’s leader, in a complex cross-border sting carried out by Iraqi and American intelligence, two Iraqi officials said Wednesday.”
Five Most Wanted leaders of ISIS just captured!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 10, 2018
According to The Times, the capture of the Islamic State leaders, which was part of a three month sting operation “represents a significant intelligence victory for the American-led coalition fighting the extremist group and underscores the strengthening relationship between Washington and Baghdad.”
Two Iraqi officials said those captured consisted of four Iraqis and one Syrian, and their responsibilities included governing the Islamic State group’s territory around the town of Deir ez-Zor, near the Iraq-Syria border.
Reuters reported the sting operation was precipitated by the February capture of Ismail al-Eithawi, a top aide to Islamic state leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
“Iraqi agents then used the Telegram messaging app on (Eithawi’s) mobile phone to lure four commanders from the group to cross the border from Syria into Iraq and into a trap,” Iraqi government security adviser Hisham al-Hashimi told Reuters.
— Fox News (@FoxNews) May 10, 2018
Hashimi said the operation was carried out in cooperation with U.S. forces. The United States is leading a coalition of nations fighting Islamic State fighters on both sides of the Iraq-Syria border.
The security adviser added that Iraqi and American intelligence agents were able to uncover banks accounts and secret communication codes used by the terrorist group as a result of the operation.
Baghdadi — who declared himself the ruler of the Islamic State following the capture of Mosul in northern Iraq in 2014 — is believed to be near the border region between Iraq and Syria.
U.S.-backed Iraqi forces retook Mosul — the last major Iraqi city held by the Islamic State — in July 2017, just six months into Trump’s presidency.
Reuters reported that the Islamic State group has now lost all the cities and towns that once made up its so-called caliphate.
“The noose is tightening around him,” Hashimi said, referring to Baghdadi.
Many took to social media to celebrate the good news Trump has received this week.
The Daily Caller’s Amber Athey tweeted a list.
✅ ISIS leaders captured **
— Amber Athey (@amber_athey) May 10, 2018
The president’s eldest son Donald Trump Jr. wrote that it had been an “impressive” last 12 hours.
Wow. I wonder if these are the guys Obama have back in exchange for Bergdahl? The count for the past 12 hours is pretty impressive. 3 captive brought home 5 isis leaders captured. Today is a good day. https://t.co/Xjo900RKGp
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) May 10, 2018
Even The Washington Post’s Aaron Blake, a frequent Trump critic, had to concede events have been going the president’s way.
Daily Wire editor-in-chief Ben Shapiro suggested Trump’s decision making is not too difficult to comprehend.
Trump having himself an amazing week. As always, all he had to do was think “What Would Obama Do?” And then do the opposite.
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) May 10, 2018
“Trump having himself an amazing week. As always, all he had to do was think ‘What Would Obama Do?’ And then do the opposite,” Shapiro wrote.
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