Five "Most Wanted" ISIS Leaders Captured, Trapped Using Smartphone App

Out of the blue, on Thursday morning a euphoric President Trump tweeted on Thursday that five of the "Most Wanted leaders of ISIS" have been captured.

Hours before, a security advisor to Iraq's government said that Iraqi agents had detained a top aide to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, then used an app on his smartphone to lure four commanders from the terrorist organization into a trap - convincing the four Iraqis and one Syrian to cross the border from Syria to Iraq where they were captured by officials.

Iraqi state television broadcast images of four of the men arrested in the operation.

The aide, Ismail al-Eithawi (a.k.a. Abu Zaid al-Iraqi) was captured in Turkey by authorities and handed over to Iraqi counterparts, according to an account told to Reuters by Iraqi security advisor Hisham al-Hashimi. What followed was a three-month operation to track a group of senior Islamic State leaders hiding in Syria and Turkey.

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, believed to be in hiding in the Iraqi-Syria border region

Those arrested included Saddam al-Jammel, a Syrian who had been the head of the Islamic State territory around Deir al-Zour, and Abu Abdel al-Haq, an Iraqi who had been the head of internal security for the group. Two other Iraqis were also arrested, the officials said. -New York Times

Iraqi agents used the Telegram messaging app on Eithawi's mobile phone to lure other Islamic State commanders to cross the border from Syria into Iraq, where they were captured. Those held include Saddam Jamal, a Syrian who served as the group's governor of Syria's eastern Euphrates region.

Hashimi described Eithawi and Jamal as the two most senior Islamic State figures ever to be captured alive. The capture of all five was announced on Iraqi state TV on Wednesday.

Hashimi said the operation was carried out in cooperation with U.S. forces, part of an American-led coalition fighting against Islamic State on both sides of the Iraqi-Syrian border. -Daily Mail

Following the capture of Eithawi, US and Iraqi intelligence agents worked to uncover bank accounts used by the terrorist organization, as well as secret communication codes they had been using, Hashimi said. 

The other three men captured were ISIL field commanders: Syrian Mohamed al-Qadeer and two Iraqis, Omar al-Karbouli and Essam al-Zawbai, according to Hashimi - who said 'The noose is tightening around him,' referring to Baghdadi, whose real name is Ibrahim al-Samarrai. 

Baghdadi is believed to be in hiding in the Iraqi-Syrian border region after the loss of once-captured cities and towns of his self-proclaimed caliphate. 

Iraq, meanwhile, is committed to eradicating Syrian-based militants, according to Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi. 

The Iraqi air force has carried out several air strikes since last year against Islamic State positions in Syrian territory.

Abadi declared final victory last December over the ultra-hardline group within Iraq. But the militants still pose a threat along the border with Syria and have continued to carry out ambushes, killings and bombings across Iraq.

Islamic State militants last month restated their loyalty to Baghdadi, in what is believed to be their first public pledge of allegiance to him since his self-proclaimed caliphate collapsed last year in both Syria and Iraq. -Daily Mail

Adding this to the three rescued hostages from North Korea, and it's clear that the Trump administration is having a very good day.