The Lebanese army says it has detained the second wife of the Islamic State (Isis)leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and their eight-year-old son near the Syrian border, according to a Guardian report.
Lebanese security officials described the woman as a “high-value catch” and said the identity of the boy was confirmed through DNA testing.
The US and other states have samples of Baghdadi’s DNA from the nine months he spent in US custody in Iraq in 2004.
Analysts in Iraq said that, if true, the arrest would not necessarily yield useful intelligence. The self-styled leader of the new Islamic caliphate, which covers part of eastern Syria and Iraq, operates in an exclusively male world where women are rarely empowered. Baghdadi is believed to have three wives, two of them Iraqi and one Syrian.
“It is close to impossible that she would have operational details,” said an Iraqi intelligence officer. “But she could still be useful on things like locations.”
Baghdadi is known to move frequently across Iraq’s north-west, where he has been the target of an intensive technical effort to track him by the
US National Security Agency and Britain’s GCHQ. He uses trusted couriers to pass vital information, often in written letters, or repeated orally. The FBI has put a $10m (£6.4m) bounty on Baghdadi’s head.
Al-Safir, the Lebanese news magazine, which first reported the arrest, said the woman and her son were arrested near the restive border town of Arsal and were being detained at Lebanon’s military headquarters in the hills overlooking Beirut.
The woman was identified as Saja al-Dulaimi, an Iraqi, by a Lebanese security official and a senior political source. Dulaimi was one of 150 women released from a Syrian government jail in March as part of a prisoner swap that led to the release of 13 nuns taken captive by al-Qaida-linked militants in Syria, according to media reports at the time.