Pentagon Says Wife Of A Dead Islamic State Leader Is Now In Iraqi Custody
The Defense Department says the wife of a senior leader of the self-proclaimed Islamic State was released into the custody of the Iraqi government today.
Nasrin As'ad Ibrahim, also known as Umm Sayyaf, had been detained by U.S. forces in Irbil, Iraq. She had been there since May 15 when her husband, Abu Sayyaf, was killed by U.S. Special Operations Forces during a raid against the network in Syria.
She is now being held by the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government's Ministry of Interior. The Pentagon says she was transferred to the Kurds "for various reasons, including the location of potential witnesses, it made sense to transfer her to the custody of Iraqi authorities in Erbil."
The Defense Department's statement said that the transfer "is consistent with DoD policy to detain, interrogate, and, where appropriate, seek the prosecution of individuals who are captured on the battlefield."
American officials in Iraq say Umm Sayyaf "provided the U.S. with valuable intelligence about the inner workings of [the] Islamic State," writes the Wall Street Journal. The paper continues:
"After interrogators collected material from Umm Sayyaf, officials debated whether she should be brought to the U.S. to face criminal charges. Officials suspect she had a role in the capture of American citizen Kayla Mueller, an aid worker who was captured and later died in captivity in Syria.
"Iraqi officials resisted that approach, citing an Iraqi constitutional ban on surrendering citizens to foreign authorities. The U.S. decided that turning Umm Sayyaf, who is Iraqi, over to Kurdish authorities for prosecution was the most viable alternative. ...
" 'We have a firm belief that she will be held to account for her crimes, though we cannot guarantee any particular result,' the [senior administration] official said.
"Administration officials said they were in contact with Ms. Mueller's family prior to releasing Umm Sayyaf."
As we reported after Umm Sayyaf was captured, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter said in a statement that she is believed to have "played an important role in [ISIS's] terrorist activities, and may have been complicit in what appears to have been the enslavement of a young Yezidi woman rescued last night."
Her husband, Abu Sayyaf, was involved in the Islamic State's oil, gas and financial operations.
Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.