The Lebanese army detained a wife and daughter of Islamic State (IS) leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as they crossed from Syria nine days ago, security officials said yesterday.
The officials declined to give the name or nationality of the woman who they described as one of al-Baghdadi’s wives.
Lebanese newspaper As-Safir said the army had detained her in coordination with “foreign intelligence apparatus.”
The arrest is a blow to al-Baghdadi and could be used as a bargaining chip against his group — formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant — which has captured many foreign, Iraqi and Syrian prisoners and declared a caliphate across territory it seized in Syria and Iraq.
A senior Lebanese security official said Baghdadi’s wife had been traveling with one of their daughters, contradicting earlier reports that it was his son. DNA tests were conducted to verify it was al-Baghdadi’s child, the official said.
They were detained in northern Lebanon. Investigators were questioning her at the headquarters of the Lebanese Ministry of Defense, the security officials said.
There was no immediate reaction from Islamic State Web sites to the arrest.
Lebanese security forces have waged a crackdown on Islamic State sympathizers in Lebanon and intelligence services have been extra vigilant on the borders with Syria.
Over the past few months, they have arrested a number of militants suspected of staging attacks to expand Islamic State influence in the country.
A CV of al-Baghdadi published on social media in July by Islamic State sympathizers described him as married, but gave no further details. It is unclear how many wives he has. He is allowed up to four, in accordance with Islamic law.
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