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Islamic State leader reportedly captured in Istanbul

Officials said the militant leader was detained after a raid on a house in the city
This picture taken on March 24, 2019 shows a discarded Islamic State (IS) group flag lying on the ground in the village of Baghouz in Syria's eastern Deir Ezzor province near the Iraqi border (AFP)

Turkey has reportedly captured of the leader of the Islamic State (IS) group, following a raid in Istanbul.

Senior officials told Bloomberg that counter-terrorism officers and intelligence agents captured Abu Hasan al-Hashemi al-Qurashi in the Turkish city, without giving further details.

Qurashi, whose real name is Juma Awad al-Badri, has led the militant group since its previous leader, Abu Ibrahim al-Qurashi, was killed in a US operation in Syria in February.

According to Iraqi security officials, Badri is the brother of the first IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who proclaimed the group's "caliphate" in Mosul in 2014.

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Turkish news site OdaTV quoted officials as saying the militant leader was captured after lengthy surveillance on a house he was staying in.

Police also reportedly did not open fire during the operation, which the news site said was carried out in "great secrecy."

The site did not identify any of the officials involved, but said that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan would announce the arrest in the coming days.

A source familiar with the issue told Middle East Eye that the Odatv report is correct

While IS no longer controls the vast territory it did during its peak between 2014 and 2018, when it held a third of Syria and Iraq, the group has remained a security threat throughout the region, particularly in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan.

On Thursday, the group claimed responsibility for a series of bomb attacks in the northern Afghan city of Mazar-i-Sharif.

Officials in the country said at least 16 people were killed in the blasts.

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