Iraq announced on Thursday it had captured five senior ISIS officials as apart of a three-month-long U.S.-Iraqi intelligence operation.
The U.S.-led coalition in the fight against ISIS released a statement confirming the news, using an Arabic term for the terror group.
#Iraq captures 5 key Daesh leaders during #OperationRoundup. The arrest is a significant blow to Daesh & demonstrates close coordination between #ISF & #SDF in their fight to #defeatDaesh. @CJTFOIR is committed to lasting defeat of Daesh & setting conditions for stabilization.
— OIR Spokesman (@OIRSpox) May 10, 2018
The officials, who had been hiding in Syria and Turkey, according to The New York Times, included a top aide to ISIS leader Abu Bakr Baghdadi known as Ismail Alwaan Ithawi.
Iraqi forces had reportedly sent information on Ithaw to Turkish authorities, who arrested him in February and moved him to Iraq.
Ithawi was then interrogated by Iraqi and American forces in an effort to get information on the other officials’ whereabouts.
The U.S.-led coalition used the intel to launch an airstrike last month that took the lives of 39 suspected ISiS militants in Syria, according to the Times.
Officials then got Ithawi to persuade the other ISIS officials to move closer to a trap set up by Iraqi and American forces, where they were arrested.
The development signals a strengthening in the partnership between U.S. and Iraqi forces in the fight against ISIS, as well as a significant intelligence blow against the group.