2:02 pm - Friday November 6, 2015

Lebanon detains Islamic State leader Baghdadi’s wife

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Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi

ebanese security forces have detained a wife and young child of Islamic State (IS) leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi near the border with Syria, the army says.

The pair were picked up by military intelligence after entering Lebanon with forged papers 10 days ago.

Baghdadi’s wife – identified as an Iraqi national – is being questioned at the defence ministry.

In June, Baghdadi was named the leader of the “caliphate” created by IS in the parts of Syria and Iraq it controls.

Last month the group denied reports that he had been killed or injured in an air strike by US-led forces near the northern Iraqi city of Mosul.

DNA test

Describing them as “a valuable catch”, the Lebanese newspaper al-Safir said that the IS leader’s wife and child had been detained in co-ordination with “foreign intelligence services”.

They were held at a border crossing near the north-eastern town of Arsal while trying to enter Lebanon.

They were currently being held for interrogation at the defence ministry’s headquarters in al-Yarza, in the hills overlooking Beirut, it added.

There were conflicting reports about the child, with a senior Lebanese security official telling Reuters news agency it was a girl – a direct contradiction of most news reports.

A DNA test is being carried out to confirm the child is Baghdadi’s.

Lebanese officials initially said the woman was Syrian, but later identified her as an Iraqi called Saja al-Dulaimi, who had been living in Syria.

A woman with that name was detained by the Syrian authorities before being freed in March as part of a prisoner exchange with al-Qaeda’s local affiliate, al-Nusra Front.

The exchange saw Islamic State’s rival hand over a group of abducted Greek Orthodox nuns in return for the release of 150 of the Syrian government’s female prisoners.

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