The 560-pound (254kgs) Abu Abdul Bari, also known as Shifa al-Nima, was taken into custody on the back of a pick-up truck because he was too heavy to be put in a police car, Iraqi security officials said in a statement on Thursday.
Bari, a preacher known for “provocative speeches against the security forces” is considered one of the top leaders of the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group.
He issued religious decrees — or fatwas — ordering the execution of scholars and clerics who refused to pledge allegiance to Daesh when the terror group occupied Mosul in 2014.
Bari also ordered the destruction of Mosul’s cultural heritage, specifically the ancient Mosque of Prophet Jonah, which sparked outrage and condemnation in the Islamic world
The mosque had been built over the reputed burial site of the biblical prophet revered by Jews, Christians and Muslims who know him as Nabi Yunis.
Photos of the Daesh leader being captured and taken away in a truck have been widely circulated online.
Maajid Nawaz, founder of the London-based anti-extremism think tank Quilliam Foundation also shared images of Bari’s arrest.
“He was so overweight, maybe from remaining sedentary in his hiding place, that he had to be taken by police in the back of a pick-up truck,” he wrote on Facebook.
“Most religious justifications provided to ISIS (Daesh) for enslaving, raping, torturing, ethnic cleansing and massacring Iraqis, Syrians and others are from this paltry beast who can’t even stand on his own two legs,” he wrote, adding that the images of his arrest would strike the terror group a psychological blow.
Daesh began a terror campaign in Iraq in 2014, overrunning vast swathes in lightning attacks.
Former Iraqi prime minister, Haider al-Abadi, declared the end of military operations against Daesh in the Arab country on December 9, 2017.
On July 10 that year, he had formally declared victory over Daesh in Mosul, which served as the terrorists’ main urban stronghold in Iraq.
In the run-up to Mosul's liberation, Iraqi army soldiers and voluntary fighters from the pro-government Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) – better known by the Arabic name Hashd al-Sha’abi – had made sweeping gains against Daesh.
Iraqi forces took control of eastern Mosul in January 2017 after 100 days of fighting.
Sunday 19 January 2020 01:25