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Iraq has detained a top leader of the Islamic State group and a longtime al Qaeda operative, the country's prime minister has announced.
Making the announcement on Twitter, Prime Minister Mustafa al Kadhimi identified the man as Sami Jasim, who is known for overseeing the financial operations of the Islamic State group.
He described the bust as "one of the most difficult" cross border intelligence operations ever conducted by Iraqi forces.
He tweeted: "While our ISF (Iraqi Security Forces) heroes focused on securing the elections, their INIS (Iraqi National Intelligence Service) colleagues were conducting a complex external operation to capture Sami Jasim, who was in charge of Daesh finance, and a deputy of Abu Bakr al Baghdadi.
"Long live Iraq, and our brave heroes."
Jasim also served as the deputy leader of IS under the late Abu Bakr al Baghdadi and worked with al Qaeda in Iraq.
He was detained in a foreign country and transported to Iraq a few days ago, Iraqi intelligence officials told the Associated Press.
They spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to speak about the operation.
Jasim worked with al Qaeda in Iraq under leader Abu Musab al Zarqawi, who was killed by the US in 2016.
He worked in various security positions in the country and moved to Syria in 2015 after IS declared its caliphate in 2014.
He became the deputy of Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, the extremist group's leader, who was killed in 2019.
The US state department had at the time offered a reward for information leading to the location of IS leaders it identified including Jasim.