Lebanon holding ISIL leader's daughter and ex-wife
Lebanon’s Interior Minister, Nohad Machnouk, on Thursday said that DNA tests had confirmed that Lebanon was holding the young daughter of alleged Islamic State (ISIL) leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
Machnouk told Lebanon's MTV television that the child's mother, who is also in custody, was now believed to be one of Baghdadi's ex-wives. They were detained at a border crossing with Syria by the Lebanese army two weeks ago.
He said that the woman, identified as Saja al-Dulaimi, had been travelling with two sons and a daughter when they were detained.
"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 said.
"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."
The minister added: "We conducted DNA tests on her and the daughter, which showed she was the mother of the girl, and that the girl is [Baghdadi's] daughter, based on DNA from Baghdadi from Iraq."
However, the Iraqi government later claimed that the woman was not married to Baghdadi. It said that al-Dulaimi was the daughter of an active member of al-Qaeda's affiliate in Syria, al-Nusra Front.
Arrested and released in Syria
Al-Dulaimi is thought to have been arrested by the Syrian government before being freed in March as part of a prisoner exchange with al-Nusra.
Machnouk said Dulaimi's children were staying at a care centre while she was being interrogated at the Lebanese defence ministry's headquarters.
ISIL has not commented on their detention, but al-Nusra has condemned it.
A Lebanese official reportedly said that having the ex-wife and daughter was a "powerful card to apply pressure" in negotiations with ISIL and al-Nusra, who are holding more than 20 Lebanese soldiers and police hostage.
The jihadist militants are threatening to kill their hostages unless their fighters are freed from Lebanese jails.
Photo caption: Lebanon’s Interior Minister, Nohad Machnouk, on Thursday said that DNA tests had confirmed that Lebanon was holding the young daughter of alleged Islamic State (ISIL) leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi (in photo). Photo courtesy of: credityoutube.com
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