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Middle East

Baghdadi's daughter, ex-wife in custody, Lebanon says

© AFP/Al-Furqan Media/W.G. Dunlop | An image grab taken from a propaganda video released in July allegedly shows Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-12-04

Lebanon's interior minister said Thursday that DNA tests have confirmed that a woman and child now in Lebanese custody are the ex-wife and a daughter of Islamic State group leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

Initial reports on Tuesday said that Baghdadi's current wife had been detained along with his son.

The woman, identified as Saja al-Dulaimi, was travelling with her two sons and a daughter, Interior Minister Nouhad Mashnuq told Lebanon's MTV channel late on Wednesday. He said subsequent DNA tests showed that the girl was Baghdadi's child.

"We conducted DNA tests on her and the daughter, which showed she was the mother of the girl, and that the girl is his (Baghdadi's) daughter, based on DNA from Baghdadi from Iraq," Mashnuq said.

"Dulaimi is not Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's wife currently. She has been married three times: first to a man from the former Iraqi regime, with whom she had two sons," he added.

The minister gave no details on Dulaimi's nationality, but a security source said she was believed to be Iraqi.

"Six years ago, she married Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi for three months, and she had a daughter with him. Now she is married to a Palestinian and she is pregnant with his child," Mashnuq said, adding that an investigation showed Dulaimi had ties to extremists in Lebanon.

Dulaimi's children are at a children's care centre while she was being interrogated, he said.

Mashnuq also confirmed the arrest of the wife of Anas Sharkas, a leader of al Qaeda's Syrian affiliate, al Nusra or the Nusra Front.

Prisoner swap

Dulaimi was among a group of female prisoners released from Syrian jails in March in exchange for 13 nuns from the ancient town of Maaloula who were being held by al Nusra.

The Islamic State group has yet to comment publicly on Dulaimi's detention, but al Nusra – despite its ongoing feud with Baghdadi's Islamic State group – condemned her detention in a statement.

It described her as "sister Saja al-Dulaimi" and said the arrest of women and children was evidence of the "weakness" of the Lebanese state.

The detention of Dulaimi and Sharkas's wife could help Lebanese authorities as they negotiate the release of 27 members of the security forces being held by jihadists. The soldiers and police were abducted when militants from the Islamic State group and al Nusra briefly overran the Lebanese border town of Arsal in August.

The militants withdrew after a truce was negotiated by clerics but took 30 hostages, three of whom have since been executed.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)


Date created : 2014-12-04


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