Turkey captures ‘senior’ Daesh leader: Erdogan

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President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Thursday that Turkish security forces had arrested a “senior executive” of the militant Daesh group.

The commander was known as Abu Zeyd but his real name was Bashar Khattab Ghazal Al-Sumaidai, Erdogan told reporters on board his flight home from a three-nation tour of the Balkans.

Erdogan said a UN Security Council report published in July identified Sumaidai as “one of the senior executives of the (Daesh) terrorist organization.”

Turkish media said there were some indications Sumaidai may in fact be the man known as Abu Hasan Al-Hashimi Al-Qurashi — an Iraqi who is the new self-proclaimed caliph, or leader, of the entire Daesh group.

Erdogan only referred to Sumaidai as a top Daesh official in Syria.

“In his interrogation, he also stated that he was a so-called ‘qadi’ of the so-called ministry of education and ministry of justice,” Turkish media quoted Erdogan as saying. A qadi is a judge in a sharia court.

Erdogan did not say when the Daesh commander was captured.

“This terrorist’s connections in Syria and Istanbul had been followed for a long time, and intelligence information was obtained that he would enter Turkey illegally,” Erdogan said.

“This terrorist was caught in a successful operation of the MIT security service and the Istanbul police.”—AFP

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