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Wife, Son Of Islamic State Leader Reportedly Detained In Lebanon

Lebanese officials say they have detained the wife and son of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the so-called Islamic State.

According to the BBC, the two, who were said to be traveling with forged documents, were detained 10 days ago near the Syrian border.

The BBC adds:

"The al-Safir newspaper reported that Baghdadi's wife was being questioned at the Lebanese defence ministry. ...

"Describing them as 'a valuable catch', al-Safir said that, in co-ordination with foreign intelligence services, the IS leader's wife and son were detained at a border crossing while trying to enter Lebanon from Syria with forged papers."

Over the summer, Baghdadi was presented as the leader of a caliphate declared by the Islamic State.

NBC News reports:

"Little is known about Baghdadi, who is rarely seen or heard from. An audio-tape released by ISIS last month and purportedly from the militant chief called for 'volcanoes of jihad' to erupt the world over.

"Born in Iraq's city of Samarra, Baghdadi has been portrayed in jihadist propaganda as as an imam from a religious family descended from noble tribes, and a scholar and a poet with a Ph.D. from Baghdad's Islamic University, possibly in Arabic. He ended up at the U.S. detention facility Camp Bucca in 2005 and after his release rose through the ranks of the Islamic State of Iraq — the terror successor to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's al Qaeda in Iraq.

"When the organization's leaders were killed in 2010, Baghdadi stepped into the void. Baghdadi — which is not his birth name — uses a host of aliases and is said to wear a bandanna around his face to conceal his identity from everyone except a very tight inner circle that is thought to be comprised only of Iraqis."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.
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