95 pct of Islamic State leaders still at large inside, outside Iraq – expert

Islamic State militants

Baghdad ( – A security expert has warned that about 95 percent of Islamic State (IS) leaders are still hiding in different areas inside and outside Iraq, urging Iraqi authorities to act immediately to capture them as soon as possible.

“The most prominent IS leaders are funding terrorist activities of the group from outside Iraq,” expert Fadel Abu Reghif told the London-based Asharq Al-Awsat, adding that Iraqi authorities must act immediately to arrest them and bring them to trial for their crimes.

Commenting on reports about the capture of the Islamic State’s so-called slaughter Abu Taha al Tunisi and nine of his companions in a security crackdown in Anbar province Sunday, Abu Reghif said, “Nobody can ignore the fact that 95 percent of IS leaders did not fight, but they preferred to escape and hide in different areas inside and outside Iraq.”

Iraq declared the collapse of Islamic State’s territorial influence earlier in November with the recapture of Rawa, a city on Anbar’s western borders with Syria, which was the group’s last bastion in Iraq.

Islamic State declared a self-styled “caliphate” in a third of Iraq and neighboring Syria in 2014. A government campaign, backed by the US-led international coalition, was launched in 2016 to retake IS-held regions, managing to retake all havens, most notably the city of Mosul, the group’s previously proclaimed capital.

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