Middle East

Iraq and Kurdistan Region security forces arrest ISIS financial network members

Iraq’s Special Operations Forces and the Kurdistan Region’s Counter Terrorism Directorate arrested members of the al-Rawi network, an Islamic State financial facilitation group, during operations this week, the U.S.-led Coalition against ISIS said.

“The Government of Iraq enabled partner forces in both cities to make a total of 10 arrests,” in Baghdad and Erbil from October 7-9, Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve said in a Thursday, October 11 press release.

The U.S. Treasury Department sanctioned Fawaz Muhammad Jubayr al-Rawi in December 2016 “for providing financial, material, or technological support for, and financial or other services to or in support of ISIL,” another acronym for ISIS.

According to the Treasury Department, al-Rawi “was an ISIL finance emir and senior ISIL financier” who owned and operated a branch of Hanifa Exchange near his home in Al Bukamal, Syria. He was accused of controlling the value of U.S. currency in Bukamal and of storing large amounts of cash for ISIS.

Al-Rawi allegedly pledged bayat, or loyalty, to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in 2014 and facilitated financial operations and payments to the group and its fighters. Between 2014 and August 2015 he hosted senior ISIS commanders and fighters at his home for weekly meetings.

Al-Rawi was killed in a Coalition airstrike in Bukamal on June 16, 2017.

“These were two separate days of operations and the Government of Iraq enabled partner forces in both cities to make a total of 10 arrests,” CJTF-OIR spokesperson Colonel Sean Ryan told The Defense Post.

“The first was the Kurdistan Counter Terrorism Directorate rolling up the eight members, followed by the Iraqi Counter Terrorism Service arresting two more members in Baghdad.”

“Amazing work by both, and helps cripple ISIS capacity to finance terror in the areas,” he added.

The Coalition did not name anyone arrested during this week’s raids.

“The arrests deal a major blow to ISIS’s capacity to threaten and terrorize civilians,” said Major General Patrick B. Roberson, commander of Special Operation Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve.

“This demonstrates that those who assist in, sponsor, or provide financial, material or technological support to ISIS will face severe consequences.”

On Tuesday, Kurdistan24 reported that the Iraqi Kurdistan Region’s Counter Terrorism forces participated in an operation with Coalition forces on October 6.

That operation, in an undisclosed location, targeted a “significant group of IS financers [sic],” and resulted in the arrests of eight members of a cell that operated in both Iraq and Syria, Kurdistan24 reported the Directorate General of the Counter-Terrorism Forces (CTD) as saying.

The CTD released a video of the raid on its Facebook page on Tuesday.

له‌ ئۆپه‌راسيۆنێكى سه‌ركه‌وتوودا تۆڕێكى گه‌وره‌ى سه‌رچاوه‌ى دارايى داعش ده‌ستگير كران

له‌ ئۆپه‌راسيۆنێكى سه‌ركه‌وتوودا تۆڕێكى گه‌وره‌ى سه‌رچاوه‌ى دارايى داعش ده‌ستگير كرانبه‌ڕێوه‌به‌راتى گشتى دژه‌ تيرۆر، به‌هاوبه‌شى له‌گه‌ڵ هاوپه‌يمانيى نێوده‌وڵه‌تى دژ به‌ رێكخراوى تيرۆريستيى "داعش"، دواى وه‌رگرتنى ره‌زامه‌ندى به‌ڕێز دادوه‌ر، له‌ ئۆپه‌راسيۆنێكى سه‌ركه‌وتوودا‌، له ‌رێكه‌وتى 6-10-2018، توانى تۆڕێكى گه‌وره‌ى سه‌ره‌كى سه‌رچاوه‌ى دارايى رێكخراوى تيرۆريستيى "داعش" ده‌ستگير بكات كه‌ له‌ عێراق و سووريا كاريان ده‌كرد.به‌ڕێوه‌به‌رايه‌تى گشتى دژه‌ تيرۆر، دڵنيايى ده‌داته‌ هاووڵاتيانى هه‌رێمى كوردستان، كه‌ تيرۆريستان هه‌رگيز ناتوانن ئارامى و سه‌قامگيرى هه‌رێمى كوردستان بشێوێنن و هه‌موو جموجوڵێكى تيرۆريستان و ئه‌وانه‌يش كه‌ هاوكاريان ده‌كه‌ن له‌ژێر چاودێرى ورد دايه‌ و به‌پێى ياسا مامه‌ڵه‌يان له‌گه‌ڵدا ده‌كرێت.

Posted by ‎دژه تیرۆری کوردستان Kurdistan CT‎ on Tuesday, October 9, 2018

It is unclear why the date given by the CTD does not match the Coalition’s timeline.

This story was updated at 0915 GMT on October 11 with additional information from the Kurdistan Region’s CTD and at 1235 GMT with additional information from Col. Sean Ryan.

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