One of the wives of Islamic State commander Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi have been detained by the Lebanese army, according to security officials.
The woman, believed to be hairdresser Saja Hamid al-Dulaimi, was reportedly using a false passport when she was caught 10-days ago with the help of ‘foreign intelligence apparatus’, the Lebanese newspaper As- Safir reported.
She was described by senior Lebanese security officials as ‘one of the wives’ of the terror chief who the UN say wields ‘absolute power’ over the militant group which controls swathes of Iraq and Syria, Lebanon’s neighbor to the east.
Despite pulling off quite a coup, Lebanese officials did not release her nationality and age or details about the child she was travelling with. However, DNA tests have apparently confirmed that Baghdadi is the father.
The woman is being questioned at the headquarters of the Lebanese defence ministry in Yarze, according to As-Safir.
Earlier this year local media reported that al-Dulaimi was one of the wives of the barbaric group’s reclusive leader, although it is unclear how many he has.
Al-Dulaimi who reportedly worked as a hairdresser and a seamstress in Baghdad, is known to have at least three children.
Her father Ibrahim Dulaimi was a so-called ISIS ’emir’ in Syria who was reportedly killed in September 2013 during an operation against the Syrian army, according to the Al-Arabiya news channel.
While, her sister, Duaa, was also allegedly behind a suicide attack that targeted a Kurdish gathering in the Irbil.
Al-Dulami’s identity was first revealed by Abu Maan al-Suri, a member of Syrian jihadist group al-Nusra, who claimed she had been part of a prisoner exchange, involving a group of nuns who were kidnapped months earlier in the historic Syrian town of Maaloulah.
Whether she will be once again used as a bargaining chip is unknown, but the Lebanese government has come under increasing pressure to secure the release of some 20 soldiers and police officers kidnapped by ISIS and other militants during an August cross border raid.
They already have killed three of the captives, beheading two and relatives of the captured men have surrounded the prime minister’s office in Beirut with protest tents, demanding the government negotiate faster.
After the militants threatened to kill all of them last month, the protesters turned violent, burning tires and blocking roads, causing hours of citywide gridlock.
It is also unclear why Baghdadi would sanction her trip to Lebanon but ISIS strongholds in both Iraq and Syria have come under sustained attack in recent months.
Aided by US airstrikes the militants have been repeatedly defeated by Iraqi troops, backed by Shiite and Kurdish militiamen.
The ISIS leader, who has a $10 million bounty on his head, is known to be their prime target.
Little is known about the early life of Baghdadi, the man now touted as the World’s most prominent jihadist, although US data suggests he was born in Samarra in 1971.
He apparently joined the insurgency that erupted shortly after the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq, at one point spending time as a ‘civilian internee’ in Camp Bucca, a US-run prison in Garma.
It is believed he was radicalized during the four years he spent in this camp, also known as the Birth Place of ISIS.
He went on to revive the fortunes of Iraq’s struggling Al Qaeda affiliate, turning it into the independent IS group, arguably the most brutal, powerful and wealthiest jihadist organisation in the world.
Under his leadership, ISIS has spearheaded a militant offensive that has overrun much of Iraq’s Sunni Arab heartland since June after seizing major territory in neighbouring Syria, and carried out a series of atrocities in both countries.
During their rapid advance the Iraqi military virtually crumbled when confronted by the group, although ISIS have since been pegged back since the US airstrikes began.
Declaring himself Caliph, Baghdadi made his first video appearance in Mosul in July to announce his vision for a self-styled caliphate, a form of Islamic state.
It was rumored that he was killed or wounded by a US airstrike last month, but the group moved to quash this by releasing an audio recording purporting to be him, in which he encouraged militants to attack Saudi Arabia.
Fearing a spread of the insurgency into their country, Lebanon has arrested a number of Islamic State militants suspected of carrying out attacks in a bid to expand the group’s influence in the region.
They have also been monitoring their borders closely in a bid to stem the flow of fighters attempting to join the conflict in Syria or those returning from battle.