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Before ISIS Raid, an Underwear Theft

Syrian Kurds say their spy got the briefs and a blood sample to help confirm identity
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 29, 2019 1:13 PM CDT
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People look at a destroyed houses near the village of Barisha, in Idlib province, Syria, on Sunday, after an operation by the US military which targeted Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.   (AP Photo/Ghaith Alsayed)
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(Newser) – Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's downfall began when a spy planted in his inner circle managed to steal the ISIS leader's underwear. That's according to a commander of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, which fought ISIS alongside the US. Gen. Mazloum Abdi tells NBC News that an informant serving as one of Baghdadi's security advisers nabbed the leader's underwear three months ago, along with a sample of blood one month ago, and both were used to confirm Baghdadi's identity. The informant—apparently motivated by revenge, per the Guardian—also provided a layout of Baghdadi's compound in Idlib, was there as Saturday's raid unfolded, and departed with US forces, Adbi said. President Trump said Sunday the Kurds didn't participate in the raid but gave "some information that turned out to be helpful." That's an understatement, according to SDF official Polat Can.

Though it was reported that the arrests of one of Baghdadi's wives and a courier revealed where the ISIS leader was hiding in Syria, "all intelligence and access to Al Baghdadi as well as the identification of his place, were the result of our own work," Can tweeted Monday, backing up Abdi's account. He said the informant reached Baghdadi's hideout just as the terrorist leader "was about to move to a new place in Jerablus," some 120 miles to the northeast on Syria's border with Turkey, per the Guardian. "Our intelligence source was involved in sending coordinates, directing the airdrop, participating in and making the operation a success until the last minute," Can added. Once he'd killed himself, Baghdadi was identified using DNA samples technicians had brought with them, per the BBC. It's unclear if the samples included the aforementioned blood. (Read more Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi stories.)

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