Iraqi security forces yesterday arrested a Daesh militant who used to head the so-called “Execution Committee” in the city of Samarra in the Salahuddin Governorate in the north of the country.
The Iraqi Security Media Cell said in a statement that a force from the Samarra Operations Command captured a Daesh member who had been the group’s head of executions.
The statement added that the man was arrested in an ambush set up on the main road near the Dujail district, adding that all legal measures have been taken against him.
The Security Media Cell has also said that the security forces destroyed three warehouses containing medical and food supplies as well as other materials belonging to the militant group in addition to two tunnels and a booby-trapped boat and detonating an explosive device in Salahuddin Governorate.
Following Daesh’s rapid expansion since 2014 and its capture of vast swathes of the Levant, it started to significantly lose territory two years later as a result of an international coalition in which both local and foreign actors fought against it.
It gradually lost control of its major strongholds such as Mosul in Iraq and Raqqa in Syria, being reduced to its current state of sleeper cells scattered around the region. Iraq declared victory over the group in December 2017.
Despite its military defeat, however, there are increasing concerns that the group is recuperating and rebuilding itself, with the Pentagon having released a report in early August warning that “Despite losing its territorial ‘caliphate,’ the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) [Daesh] solidified its insurgent capabilities in Iraq and was re-surging in Syria.”
China gave a similar warning last year. These concerns have been given some credibility due to a significant increase in recent attacks on Syrian and Iraqi soldiers in recent months, as well as attacks on other groups.