Baghdad: A top aide to the leader of the Islamic State has been sentenced to death by hanging by an Iraqi court on Wednesday, becoming the highest-ranking member of the extremist group to be tried and sentenced in a court of law.
Ismail al-Ithawi was part of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s inner circle and was responsible for religious edicts, finances and designing the educational curriculum for the Islamic State group. He is also thought to be the group’s only operative in custody to have seen Baghdadi alive last year.
Ithawi, who used the alias Abu Zaid al-Iraqi, was captured in a joint operation by Iraqi, U.S. and Turkish intelligence agencies in February and had been providing information to Iraqi authorities, including coordinates for airstrikes on targets in Syria, Iraqi officials revealed.
Founder of Mena AnalysisTore Hamming says, “Al-Iraqi was a top deputy to al-Baghdadi, probably sat on the group’s most powerful organ, the delegated committee (al-Lajna al-Mufawwada), and has been reported to have headed its methodological committee (al-Lajna al-Manhajiyya). Al-Iraqi is famous for drafting the IS’ education curricula, making religious rulings and for being the author of the infamous 17 May 2017 memo that implemented a much more radical interpretation of takfir (excommunication). It has been rumoured that after Al Baghdadi changed opinion (against the 17 May memo), he threatened to execute al-Iraqi if he did not change his opinion on the matter of takfir.”