Hawija (IraqiNews.com) ِA top chemical weapons expert with the Islamic State was found dead in southwestern Kirkuk, a local source was quoted saying Thursday.
Alsumaria News quoted the source saying that Abul-Baraa al-Iraqi, Islamic State’s top chemical weapons expert, was found mysteriously dead from an apparent murder inside his house in al-Askari district in Hawija town, southwest of the province.
Abul-Baraa holds a certificate in chemistry and was a former worker at the Iraqi army’s military industries agency until 2003, the source said. He joined al-Qaeda and later operated under Abu Mosab al-Zarqawi, deceased commander of Al-Qaeda in Iraq.
Abul-Baraa was a vital contributor to IS’s chemical arsenal. “He disappeared years ago as Baghdadi (IS’s supreme leader) transferred him to the Syrian city of Raqqa, IS’s central base there. “Nobody knows how he showed up in Hawija,” according to the source.
“Information from Hawija tell that the group kept mum on news of his death, and secretly laid him to burial next to other foreign IS fighters at the south of the town,” the source stated.
Hawija is still awaiting security offensives to drive IS members out.
Since Iraqi troops launched a campaign in October to retake Mosul, IS’s largest stronghold, the group lost thousands of its senior leaders in combat, while many were also reportedly killed by mysterious assailants amid growing speculations about division within the extremist group.
Iraqi and U.S.-led coalition leaderships had counted several instances where IS used improvised chemical weapons in their battles.