Iraqi military forces captured the ISIS finance chief from an operation to retake Qaim city in Anbar province on Tuesday, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said.
“We took the finance chief, the money collector for ISIS. If we don’t get the money, we’ll never be able to recover any territory,” al-Abadi said on Twitter.
Al-Abadi did not say how big a role the finance chief had in funding ISIS, but Iraqi and U.S. military officials have said hundreds of ISIS fighters and their families from Qaim and other towns have been detained.
Washington, which has carried out a global air campaign against the Islamic State group, has reportedly helped coordinate the raid.
Britain-based monitoring group the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Tuesday that the raid to seize the ISIS money warehouse, codenamed “Shindara-2,” netted 2,000 pounds of cash and a large amount of weapons, ammunition and explosives.
The Observatory said Iraqi forces were still battling Islamic State militants in the village of Al-Jahweh, around 60 miles east of the city. Meanwhile, the U.S.-led coalition battling the Islamic State in Syria said it would intensify its campaign against IS in Qaim on Wednesday.
The coalition said in a statement released late Tuesday that it would also target Qaim’s Wadi Al-Furat highway to impede the group’s movement. It added that an elite unit deployed to capture other areas was operating in its pursuit.
Abadi congratulated the troops in a social media post after troops completed the operation to retake Iraq’s western Anbar province. He was joined by Finance Minister Hoshyar Zebari and Interior Minister Saadoun al-Dulaimi.
The government is seeking to crush the last strongholds still controlled by the extremist group. There have been reports, however, that hundreds of ISIS fighters had fled Qaim and razed or left abandoned the buildings they occupied before the offensive.
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